A Reading for the Fourth Sunday of Advent
Fourth Sunday in Advent: Jesus is Greater than the Kingdoms of this World
Relight the first and second purple candles, and the pink candle.
The word “advent” means coming. Advent is a season of expectation and preparation, as we prepare to celebrate the coming of Christ in his incarnation, and also look ahead to his final advent at the end of time, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and authority and power. By lighting a candle each week of Advent, we remember God’s great promises to Israel and to the world, we recognize our need for God’s mercy and grace, and we prepare to rejoice in the birth of Jesus, our Savior and King, who will come again.
The past three weeks we lit candles to remember that Jesus fulfills the stories of Israel, God, and the whole world. This morning we remember how Jesus is greater than the kingdoms of this world. As the light of Christ came into the world, many people loved darkness rather than light. The book of Daniel describes how the kingdoms of this world war against God and his kingdom. But Daniel also gives us a vision of a coming king who would defeat those kingdoms, not by taking up the sword, but by laying down his life. To this king, God will give dominion over all nations.
Daniel 7:13-14 says:
I saw in the night visions,
and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man,
and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him.
And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom,
that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him;
his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away,
and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.
Light the last purple candle.
We light the fourth candle of Advent to recognize that Jesus is greater than the kingdoms of this world, having triumphed over them through the blood of the cross.
Please pray with me:
Thank you that though this world does not work the way it’s supposed to,
and though our hearts at times join in that rebellion,
You sent your Son to redeem this broken world,
to make right what is wrong and restore us to yourself as our King and Savior.
May he receive the glory due his name.