Pastor: “In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. All went to their own towns to be registered. Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David” (Luke 2:1,3-4). Today we remember Joseph, worn-out traveler and worried husband, doing what was necessary for the sake of his family, the burden of poverty stifling his hope in the promise of God. There was no room for him, yet he knows to whom he belongs.
People: Today we give thanks for the Josephs among us, migrating far from home when there is no choice, fiercely devoted to the ones they love, unwavering in their belief that there is room for all in the kingdom of God.
Pastor: Today we light the first, second, third, and fourth candles of the Advent wreath. The first candle is HOPE, the second candle is PEACE, the third candle is JOY, and the fourth candle is LOVE. “Jesus said to them, I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34)
Prayer (All): Loving God, your mercy and compassion endure forever. Open our hearts, that we may receive your love; and following the example of your Son, spread that love to a love-starved world. Through Jesus Christ, who loved us to the end. Amen.