Family Worship: Advent 3rd Sunday: Joy
Advent: 3rd Sunday
Scripture Reading: Luke 2:8-15
If you are using an advent wreath light the first candle: This light represents the light of the hope that was promised to God’s people. The hope of a saviour. Light the second candle: This light represents the Love of God. His Love for us in spite of our sin.
We were living in darkness. We were living in sin. Yet even though we turned our backs on God and chose to sin rather than to love God, God still loved us. Isn’t that amazing? We learned that last week. Because He loved us so much he sent Jesus to die for us, to be our great hope. And because of this great hope we have from God’s love, we can have great Joy. Light the third candle. (This candle represents the great Joy that we have because of Jesus) At Christmas time we hear a lot about joy. It is everywhere, on decorations and on christmas cards, and we even sing songs like “Joy to the World.”
Q. The Angel told the shepherds that he brought news of a saviour and that would cause great joy. Do you know what Joy is?
A lot of people think that joy is the same as happiness. Although being happy is a good thing, Joy is more than just happiness. A lot of us feel happy when we have our families together for Christmas. A nice hot meal and a warm fire on a cold night can make us happy as well. Even seeing the beautiful decorations, or twinkling lights can make us happy. But Joy is not exactly the same as happiness. In the Book of Phillippians, the apostle Paul said,
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
He was very joyful wasn’t he? Did you know that he was in Prison when he wrote that? He did not have is family or friends, or his church family, or nice hot meals. He was in chains and probably hadn’t had a bath in a very long time. He probably was not very happy about being in prison, but he still had great joy.
Q. Do you know why the Apostle Paul had great joy, even in a such bad place like prison?
Because of the Love of God, Paul had a great hope in Jesus, his saviour. God’s love, and the hope of salvation in Jesus gave the apostle Paul great Joy – just like the angel said it would! Paul knew that Jesus had paid for all of his sins. So even while he was in prison, he was joyful because of this hope he had in the promises of God. (If using Candles: The light of the prophets reminds us of the HOPE that God gives us. That is why we light the first candle. The second candle represents God’s great LOVE for us. And the third candle reminds of the great JOY we have in our salvation through Jesus.)
God loves us so much. Through the prophets like Isaiah, God promised the Hope of saviour. The angels came to the shepherds to tell them of the news of a saviour and the great joy that would bring. The third week of Advent is about the joy that is ours because God has entered the world. The Angels told of the the birth of the Messiah Jesus. Isn’t it wonderful that God would come into our world? In any situation we can have joy in the knowledge that God is with us in Jesus.
Sing: O Come Oh Come Emmanuel & Joy to the World
Involve the entire family in prayer. Today, ask each person for a prayer request. This could be something to praise God for, or a supplication on someone’s behalf, or something they are thankful for etc. Include these requests in your prayer.
Ideas to add to your prayer:
- Praise God for his justice and mercy and for promising to send his Son to be a light in the darkness;
- Confess that we are sinful and ask God for the forgiveness of sins, the sins that led to living in darkness;
- Thank God for loving us so much even though we were living in darkness.
- Ask God to shine the light of the hope of Jesus in the lives of those still living in darkness;
- Ask God to strengthen our faith and help us shine His love and light to the people around us
- Ask God to increase our joy
- Ask God to provide opportunities to share the gospel message and give the courage to share the good news of Jesus with others.