One: We have lit three candles—for hope, for peace, and for joy. Today we light the fourth candle—the candle of love. With this flame we signify the great love of God that surrounds and fills us at all times—that great love that was put on display for the whole world in Christ.
As we light this candle, we remember the love of God in the coming of Christ and declare: There is no greater power than love. It is stronger than rulers and empires, stronger than grief or despair, stronger even than death. We love, because God loves us.
*I invite you right now, to take a moment and light a candle with us as we focus our minds and hearts on God, who is Love*
(light four candles)
One: Let’s pray together, this prayer:
All: Loving God, we open ourselves to you this Christmas season.
As these candles are lit, light our lives with your imagination.
Show us the power of hope.
Teach us the peace that comes from Your presence.
Fill us with the kind of joy that cannot be contained but must be shared.
Magnify your love within us.
Prepare our hearts to be transformed by you,
That we may walk in the light of Christ.
One: Today we walk in love, keenly aware that the love of God compels us
not to live for ourselves, but in service of God and neighbour.
All: We will seek God, not in a long ago stable or ancient manger,
But in the people we meet and in the depths of our own hearts.
One: May the blessing of Christmas make you a blessing to others;
May the love of God and the peace of the season permeate all that you do.
All: We will welcome the challenge of discipleship.
We will offer ourselves as God’s ministers.
We will go forth in hope, peace, joy, and love. Amen.
One: Today we are going to be reading from Isaiah 53:1-12
53 Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? 2 He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.3 He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. 4 Surely, he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted.
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.
6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. 7 He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open h
is mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.
8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away. Yet who of his generation protested?
For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was punished. 9 He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence nor was any deceit in his mouth. 10 Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the Lord makes his life an offering for sin, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand.
11 After he has suffered, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities. 12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many,
and made intercession for the transgressors.
- What do you appreciate most about Jesus as your Suffering Servant? How has God’s love impacted you lately?
- Who are some good examples of people in your life who are following in the footsteps of Jesus, in terms of being a Suffering Servant to others? Who is God calling you to serve in a similar way?