Set on Fire with Gospel Love

An Advent Devotion for November 29

Scripture Philippians 1:3-11 

“I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6

Images of candles and Advent wreathes form in my mind this time of year. I think of candles which decorated wreaths when my children were young and of Advent wreathes in churches I’ve served. They come in a variety of styles and sizes. Some have fresh cut evergreens with candles. Others are glass pillars  on metal stands filled with oil and tricky wicks. Then there are the precious slow burning beeswax candles, with appropriate drips, marking the Sundays of Advent.

Many churches have a tradition of  burning Advent candles and the large Center Christ candle until Epiphany Sunday.  Which had something to do with the Sunday morning,  I was startled by a father and his teen son  racing to the front of the sanctuary, in the small rural Minnesota church I was serving. While I was busy preaching my Epiphany sermon, I was unaware of what happening to the Advent Wreath.   Our first Advent candle had burned level with the purple ribbon entwined in its wreath.  The designated “Love” candle was about to set the church on fire.

But, isn’t that what the season is meant to do? Set us on fire with gospel love – gospel generosity – with the good news of God’s love for all people? Isn’t it meant to set us on fire with promise and hope? This year, or especially this year, may our hearts grow warm with gospel love.

God who loves us all, warm our hearts this Advent Season. Lead us to places of generosity, compassion and love. Open wide our hearts to those who need our care. Make us mindful, even as we seek to serve you, of your abundant and steadfast love for us. Amen.

Daily Devotions and other Christmas resources can be found at this Link – Devotions for Advent to Epiphany

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