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Sunday, December 23rd was the fourth Sunday in advent and the last before Christmas. Altar and vestment colors return to royal blue and the fourth candle on the advent wreath is lit. This candle is known in the Anglican tradition as the Angel’s Candle and the herald of God’s coming and also as the Candle of Joy.
Bishop Hartley based his sermon on the Old Testament reading for the day, the fortieth chapter of Isaiah: “prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” In this passage the prophet is preparing his people for the coming joy of the Messiah as a theophany or personal appearance of God as in the burning bush to Moses or in the Christian tradition, Jesus. The prophet continues to say that “all flesh is grass” and will disappear but God is forever. At Christmas time we make a symbolic journey to Bethlehem at the altar, which is our link to the family of God.
Bishop Glen Hartley conducts services at St. Francis Anglican (Traditonal Episcopal) Church at 10:30 a.m. on Sundays and 6:30 p.m. on Wednesdays, follwed by Bible study. Visit our website at stfrancisavamo.org.