Week three of advent is upon us… the first two were HOPE and LOVE, and now it’s time for JOY! This third candle is pink in color and is known as the “Shepherd’s Candle”, symbolic of those who first heard of the Christ child’s birth. After church yesterday, I was reminded that Christmas is supposed to be full of “JOY”… and according to traditional carols… “Good Cheer”, not stress and fatigue and pressure. It was so when I was a kid, but it seems as an adult… things are a bit more complicated.
I’m sure we all can remember the JOY of our kids waking us at insanely early times to force us to get up. They couldn’t WAIT to see what was under the family tree, they’re “expectation, they’re barely restrained anticipation for the Christmas presents about to be claimed. My children went crazy waiting to discover what was wrapped up just for them. They were more than exuberant, more than just loud, they were relentlessly annoying & unstoppable in their giddy excitement until my wife and I would finally surrender and go discover with them the treasures yet to be. Sound familiar ?
Do you remember the current, the buzz in the air that is almost palpable each Christmas morning, homes full of nervously anxious energy streaming off of the kids, burning bright… ready to get started with the greatest day of their lives… It was as if Nothing could dampen their joy, their excitement that oozed from them in torrents of excited words and pajama clad dances, all accelerated in the early morning euphoria that only Christmas or a snow day could inspire.
Now imagine a sleepy, un-inspired, shivering shepherding group, alone at night, herding the dirty sheep. Outcast, isolated and alone, these were the lowest of the low in Hebrew society and the Roman’s considered them to be slightly above a slave. These shepherds were considered inconsequential by the educated, the wealthy and the middle class. They would have been careful to avoid confrontations or social interaction and would most certainly have avoided the religious class of their time out of fear and shame if nothing else.
Yet it was to these less influential one’s that the host of heaven’s armies came to announce the birth of MESSIAH. To celebrate the fulfilment of the greatest promise made by God to humanity. Redemption, restoration… salvation from our sin. The gift of gifts, His son Jesus as the perfect sacrifice for our failings as a race and as individuals falling and stumbling our way through life. I’m confident these shepherds were ignorant of the eternal significance of their visitation, but you can be sure they were aware that something special had just occurred and they were not able to restrain themselves. After all, these angelic representatives of God had visited “THEM”. Not the king, not the high priest… shepherds. That was indeed GOOD news. God was making Himself accessible to the humblest of man, not the most accomplished, best educated or prosperous. The same is true for us today.
The JOY of heaven became the shepherds own, it was infectious and it was shared. God had arrived, He had shared this special announcement with them! God was now with mankind… “EMMANUEL” (God with Us) It was worth a celebration then, and it still is now. So, let’s get a little pink this week as we remember and focus on Advent. The pink candle is our reminder to share the JOY of Christ with our world. To live our lives as if we’re actually excited to be here. To express the hope and love of Christ to those who may be struggling to feel anything, let alone JOY. To share the Good News of a God who chose to be with us. It’s time to put on the pink this advent week and share the LOVE.
Pink to you all,