At Third Presbyterian Church our Sunday School teachers (and students!) write the Christmas pageant and incorporate elements of worship into the script. Below is what they have written for the candle lighting.
Narrator 1: The shepherds spread the message of the Peace that Surpasses all Understanding to the World.
Narrator 2: In this season of Advent, we light candles to help us prepare for the birth of Jesus. Today is the Third Sunday in Advent, and at Third Church, we are lighting the candle representing peace.
Narrator 1: Just like the shepherds spread the message of peace to the world, so does the lighting of our candle of peace spread the Shepherds message and its light throughout Pittsburgh and beyond.
I can see why this was a good week for the pageant… not sure I would want to preach on any of these texts either. Third Church has been focusing on the Luke passages through advent and this is Luke’s genealogy. I preached on Matthew’s genealogy (or I picked a few names from the genealogy to preach on) a few years ago and posted 5 Merciful Mothers a few days ago. Luke’s version of Jesus’ genealogy is not found in the RCL. It’s worth noting that the genealogies for Jesus (Matthew’s and Luke’s) are not the same. Matthew starts with Abraham and works his way to Jesus, Luke starts with Jesus and goes all the way back to Adam. Matthew has 3 sets of 14 generations, where Luke has 77 names. Matthew and Luke do not even agree on the names of the people in the genealogy. For instance, is Jesus’ grandfather Jacob (Matthew) or Heli (Luke)?
I suppose if I had to preach on Luke’s genealogy, what I would focus on was his inclusion of Adam. For me, this points to Jesus being for all people, not just one specific group. God chose to dwell with God’s people, all of God’s people. We are all beloved of God. And if we could manage to treat each other as beloved, perhaps we could live in peace.
Here are my other year D advent reflections: