It’s the time of year when most of us pause and shift our regular daily routines. Many of us become reflective and begin to look at our lives over the past year. What was good, what was bad, or what could we have done differently?
This reflection, this introspection, is neither good nor bad in and of itself. Rather, it is what it produces within us that matters. Will it bring change and life? Or will it cause us to look further inward and withdraw from the world around us?
The writer of Proverbs encourages us to reflect on those things which bring light and life to our world.
My son, do not forget my teaching, But let your heart keep my commandments; For length of days and years of life And peace they will add to you. Do not let kindness and truth leave you; Bind them around your neck, Write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favor and good repute In the sight of God and man. Trust in the Lord with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:1-6, NASB1995
For the past several Christmases, we have chosen to start a new family tradition. We gather to reflect on that which brought ultimate light and life to the whole world. We gather to celebrate the birth of Jesus in an intimate family candlelight service. It is simple, engaging for all ages, and, most importantly, sets God’s miraculous redemptive miracle of Jesus squarely in the center of our lives.
This simple tradition and time of celebration is a reminder that the greatest reflection we can practice is to stare into the face of God, to seek Jesus in our life, and to reflect His great love to all around us. Each year I post and share this little practice with all of you to encourage you to set aside time to practice God’s presence in your midst during this season. Be blessed this Christmas and have a wonderful New Year!
A Home-grown Candlelight Tradition
A Script for a Home-grown Candlelight Tradition
(Isaiah 9:6-7, NIV) For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.
Sing “O Holy Night”
(Luke 2:1-7, NIV) In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. (Light the Joseph candle) He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. (Light the Mary candle ) While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger because there was no guest room available for them. (Light the Jesus candle)
Sing “O Little Town of Bethlehem” and/or “Away in a Manger”
(Luke 2:8-14, NIV) And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. (Light the shepherd candles) An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. (Light the tallest angel candle) But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly a great company of heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” (Light the rest of the angel candles)
Sing “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing”
(Luke 2:15b-19, NIV) When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.
(Matthew 2:1-2 and 2:9-11, NIV) After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” (Light the Wisemen candles.) After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
Sing “What Child is This?”
(Matthew 2:12) And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route (Extinguish the Wisemen candles)
(Luke 2:20) The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told. (Extinguish the shepherd candles)
(Luke 2:15a) When the angels had left them and gone into heaven (Extinguish the angel candles)
And many years later, Mary and Joseph, being flesh and bone, came to the end of their lives on earth. (Extinguish the Mary and Joseph candles)
But the Light that began in Bethlehem was life. And this life, Jesus Christ, was the Light of all humanity. The light still shines in the darkness, and the darkness has never put it out.
And it all began on a dark, silent, and holy night long ago…
Sing “Silent Night”
If you enjoy these articles, would you consider partnering by giving a tax-deductible donation in support of the ministry to which God has called us? You partner with us by giving a one-time donation or by setting up a recurring donation. Thank you for reading and for your support and prayers! May God richly bless you in all you do!