Advent Readings


Each year, we celebrate the season of Advent during the four Sundays leading up to Christmas. The Christian calendar sets aside these weeks as a time of expectation, a time when we prepare our hearts and minds for the coming of Jesus.

At many churches around the world, including here at Summit, Advent is represented by a wreath filled with candles, a reading, and a prayer. As we move through the weeks, we light a different candle each time to signify the coming of Christ and the growing light of Christ in the world. The themes - hope, peace, joy, love - are all characteristics of Jesus and are foundational principles of our faith.

This week, as we focus on hope, we remind ourselves of the everlasting promise we have in Jesus. The hope Jesus offers us isn’t just a sunny optimism or positivity. It’s a place of comfort when everything seems dark. The hope we have in Jesus is an assurance that the darkness doesn’t win and bad days aren’t the end of the story. When we place our trust in Jesus, we can rest in the confidence that we will one day stand in the glorious presence of God, no matter what happens here on Earth.

In Romans 5, the Bible says “...we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”

Pray with us as we thank God for sending His son to give us this abundant hope.

Lord, we know that following you doesn’t mean our lives will be easy. Trusting you doesn’t mean we won’t have bad days. But, God, we know and believe that the hope we place in you is worth it. We know and believe that your son died for us so we could have a relationship with you. Thank you, Lord, for sending your son and for giving us daily hope in the form of the Holy Spirit. Help us this week, as we head into a busy holiday season, to slow down and rest in that hope. Amen.


The season of Advent has been observed by churches for over 1500 years. When we light our candles each week at Summit, we are joining in a faith tradition being observed by many around the world. It is comforting to know that despite any differences we might have, we are unified in our love for Jesus.

Many Advent services use candles just like ours. We did not choose purple, pink, and white candles because we thought they would be pretty. Summit, along with much of the global church, uses purple candles to symbolize repentance and royalty; a pink candle to represent joy and rejoicing; and a white candle to represent purity and light.

The theme of Advent this week is peace. In our everyday lives, we think of peace as the absence of conflict. God has something much better in mind. The peace we reflect on this week is not just the lack of momentary disagreement, but a restoration - providing the missing piece needed to make us complete. That is true Shalom. That’s what Jesus does for us: He gives God payment for what has been lost and reconciles us into a whole relationship with Him.

In Ephesians, Paul explains reconciliation by saying “But now in Christ Jesus, you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility.” Peace is possible because of Jesus.

God, we thank you that you are someone who keeps your promises. Thank you that you loved us enough to send your Son for us so we could have wholeness with you. We ask that you show us how to use the gifts you’ve given us to bring your peace to a world that needs it. God, this time of year is full of distractions - things that can take our focus away from the miracle of your Son - we ask for your guiding hand to point us back to you when we stray. Amen.


This week, we once again join with the global church in observing Advent. From the Latin word “adventus”, which means arrival or coming of something of great importance, Christians use this time of Advent to celebrate. While not all Advent observations are exactly alike, the essence of the season is the same: the Lord sent His Son to Earth and He will send Him again.

At Summit, our Advent is about celebrating, but it is also about waiting. For example, we don’t do all of the readings on the first Sunday. The candles won’t all be lit until Christmas Eve night. We spend this time together slowing down and unwinding ourselves from the calamity of Christmas, giving God space to calm our souls and realign our hearts with the true spirit of the season.

This week, we turn our attention to Joy. It is easy to forget that not everyone knows - yet - the true joy available to them. Jesus’s birth is described in Luke 2 as “good news of great joy that will be for all the people”. After the angels appeared to them, the shepherds rushed to the place where Jesus was born. Then, they told everyone they met about the baby in the manger. Their joy at the coming of Christ could not be contained.

Today, it can feel wrong to be joyful when so many are suffering. But true joy doesn’t happen because there is no suffering. It happens alongside it. True joy is a choice we make as followers of Jesus. We choose to believe that we serve a God who is merciful and gracious to us, no matter what. His mercy and grace give us cause for great joy just like the great joy the shepherds felt that night. We show the world around us who Jesus really is when we overflow with joy, true joy, even in our suffering.

Lord, we come to you today expectant. And like the shepherds, we desire a joy that overflows so much that we can’t help but tell others about you. God, we are grateful that joy isn’t dependent on the stability of the world. Thank you for meeting us in our suffering and giving us reasons to be joyful even while we suffer. Thank you for your continued grace and mercy. God, give us opportunities this week to show others the true and lasting joy available to us through your son. In Jesus’s name we pray, amen.


No matter how you have observed this season up to now - even if you haven’t observed it at all - Advent isn’t about getting everything right and doing things in a particular way. It’s about taking the time to reflect on Jesus: His birth and His eventual return. It’s about opening our hearts to God and letting His presence fill us. It’s about letting His light shine through us and into a dark world.

Advent helps us pause and take time to understand how the coming of Jesus is the culmination of all of the Old Testament and His second coming will be the culmination of the New Testament. Jesus is the fulfillment of all of scripture from start to finish. Without Him, we would still be separated from God, unable to make payment for our sins. Because of the pace at which we live, having a dedicated time to contemplate the life and work of Jesus is good for us.

The candle we light this week is the Love candle. On this last Sunday of Advent, we reflect on how God showed us that love isn’t just a feeling, it’s a person. He loved us so much that He had Jesus leave Heaven and come to Earth to quite literally change everything. He loved us so much that He sent His own son to die for us. It’s a kind of love that is hard to fully grasp.

Jesus asked us to have the same sacrificial love for each other that He had for us. In John 15, He says: “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” The way that sacrificial love plays out in our lives will look different for all of us, but the foundation will always be the same: we love others because He first loved us.

Thank you, God, for the gift of this quiet season of reflection. As this time of celebration and anticipation comes to a close, help us not simply move on to the next page of the calendar. Help us to allow the reality of the sacrifice you made by sending us Jesus - and the sacrifice He made to die for us - kindle a desire in us to live as He lived and to love as He loved. In Jesus’s name we pray, amen.

Christmas Eve

The season of Advent concludes tonight with our celebration of the birth of Jesus. We have lit a candle each week and have joined with the global church to recognize that Jesus alone can provide the hope, peace, joy, and love we all long for. We have prayed together that He would give us opportunities to be His light in a world that needs His hope, peace, joy, and love.

Tonight we light the Christ candle. We do so because it signifies that Jesus finally came, and we do so because we deeply desire - and believe in - His return. Just as the Israelites had to wait and wonder about when God would fulfill the promise He made to Abraham, we wait and wonder about when He will fulfill the promise of sending Jesus back.

The Book of Acts talks about what it was like when Jesus went to Heaven after His resurrection. Chapter 1 says this: “And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, and said, ‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven?’ This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.’”

We are not meant to simply stare at the sky. Jesus gave clear instructions before He was crucified. He told us to “be ready, alert, and prepared” for His return in Matthew 24. He was challenging us to spend our lives actively seeking Him and stirring us to use our time on Earth to walk closely with Him, always remembering that how we live is a testament to the life-changing power of the Holy Spirit at work in us.

God, thank you. It seems too small. We are so grateful that you loved us enough to send your son to die for us and bring us into good standing with you. Thank you for the way Advent unifies us as a global church. We ask for your help, Lord, as we anticipate the return of Jesus. Help us wait well and use our time to teach everyone we encounter about your hope, peace, joy, and love. In Jesus’s name we pray, amen.