Summary: 4th Sunday of Advent 2003 -- Christ’s life as a man and as our Savior is love story, a ministry of love for us. He, then, is the perfect example for us to following in living a life of love.
It’s A Love Story
4th Sunday of Advent, 2003
Scripture Ref: Luke 19:5-10; 23:33-34a
Hebrews 7:23-25, 9:24
Additional References: The Bible Knowledge Commentary
New Topical Textbook
1. 4th Sunday of Advent Candle Lighting
a. Last Sunday we lit the candle of joy. We light it and the candles of hope and peace again as we remember that Christ will come again and bring us everlasting peace and joy. (Light the first 3 candles)
b. The fourth candle of Advent is the Candle of Love. It’s light is meant to remind us of the love that God has for us.
c. Jesus shows us God’s perfect love. He is God’s love in human form. The bible says "God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life."
d. Love is patient; love is kind and envies no one. Love is never boastful or conceited, rude or selfish. Love is not quick to take offence, it keeps no records of wrongs, it does not gloat over other people’s troubles, but rejoices in the right, the good, and the true. There is nothing that love cannot face; there is no limit to its faith, to its hope, to its endurance. Love never ends.
e. We light this candle today to remind us of how God’s perfect love is found in Jesus. (Light the fourth candle).
f. The fifth candle of the Advent wreath is the Christ candle. We light it to celebrate the birth of the one who is the light of the world.
a. Lighting the 4the Advent candle sets the theme for today’s message—Love.
b. The word love is used very loosely these days. It is used more as an adjective describing our feelings about objects than it is used as a verb demonstrating action.
c. This Christmas season, now more than ever, the closer we get to Christ’s triumphant return, we need to relearn what true love is and how we can and should use it. Much like the child in the story I am about to read, we need to rediscover the true source of true love, Jesus.
d. Read Misha and Jesus:
It was nearing the holiday season, 1994, time for our orphans to hear, for the first time, the traditional story of Christmas. We told them about Mary and Joseph arriving in Bethlehem. Finding no room in the inn, the couple went to a stable, where the baby Jesus was born and placed in a manger.
Throughout the story, the children and orphanage staff sat in amazement as they listened. Some sat on the edges of their stools, trying to grasp every word. Completing the story, we gave the children three small pieces of cardboard to make a crude manger. Each child was given a small paper square, cut from yellow napkins I had brought with me. No colored paper was available in the city.
Following instructions, the children tore the paper and carefully laid strips in the manger for straw. Small squares of flannel, cut from a worn-out nightgown an American lady was throwing away as she left Russia, were used for the baby’s blanket. A doll-like baby was cut from tan felt we had brought from the United States.
The orphans were busy assembling their manger as I walked among them to see if they needed any help. All went well until I got to one table where little Misha sat. He looked to be about 6 years old and had finished his project. As I looked at the little boy’s manger, I was startled to see not one, but two babies in the manger. Quickly, I called for the translator to ask the lad why there were two babies in the manger. Crossing his arms in front of him and looking at this completed manger scene, the child began to repeat the story very seriously.
For such a young boy, who had only heard the Christmas story once, he related the happenings accurately--until he came to the part where Mary put the baby Jesus in the manger. Then Misha started to ad-lib. He made up his own ending to the story as he said, "And when Maria laid the baby in the manger, Jesus looked at me and asked me if I had a place to stay. I told him I have no mamma and I have no papa, so I don’t have any place to stay. Then Jesus told me I could stay with him. But I told him I couldn’t, because I didn’t have a gift to give him like everybody else did. But I wanted to stay with Jesus so much, so I thought about what I had that maybe I could use for a gift. I thought maybe if I kept him warm, that would be a good gift.