Three candles shine in the advent wreath. Is it only our imagination, or is the air less chill now, the darkness somehow less overwhelming? Joy fuels the third candle’s shimmering flame—the joy of good news, the best news, the promise of a savior soon to be fulfilled. God will take on flesh and be present among us in the most intimate way possible: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God with us.’ “
Jesu, joy of man’s desiring,
Holy wisdom, love most bright;
Drawn by Thee, our souls aspiring
Soar to uncreated light! — Robert Bridges
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes,
the oil of joy instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.
My soul glorifies the Lord
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
holy is his name.
Isaiah 61:1-3; Luke 1:46-49