Theme: Always Prepare – 12/4/16
Candle 2: The Candle of Love
There is a lot of preparation that goes in to celebrating Christmas. It takes a lot to get ready for this celebration - adjusting the schedule to spend time with loved ones, preparing food for various gatherings, purchasing gifts for various people on our lists, writing Christmas cards so that they arrive on time. On top of that, there are the decorations to put up.
Just as it takes us a lot to get ready for our Christmas celebration, it took hundreds of years of preparation for the first coming of our Messiah. As we learned last week, the prophets proclaimed Jesus coming, long before His arrival.
Isaiah tells us a bit more about what to expect when the Messiah would come. (Isaiah 11:1-10)
There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.
2 And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
3 And his delight shall be in the fear of the Lord. He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide disputes by what his ears hear,
4 but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked.
5 Righteousness shall be the belt of his waist, and faithfulness the belt of his loins.
6 The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together; and a little child shall lead them.
7 The cow and the bear shall graze; their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
8 The nursing child shall play over the hole of the cobra, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder’s den.
9 They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.
10 In that day the root of Jesse, who shall stand as a signal for the peoples—of him shall the nations inquire, and his resting place shall be glorious. 
In many ways, preparation is an act of love. It communicates to those who are impacted that they are considered and cared for. God demonstrated His love for His people by preparing them many years in advance. He even sent a messenger, John the Baptist, just a few months older than Jesus, to prepare the people.
Today, we light the candle of love in recognition of all that God did to prepare us for the coming Messiah.
 The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2016), Is 11:1–10.