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giving voice to God’s promise–Advent Candle liturgies

Each week begins with a bit of the psalm for the day. This should be read by someone other than the person leading the “one” part of the candle liturgy. It is also perfectly okay to leave the psalm out if necessary or desired.

 

November 29 (Advent 1—2 Kings 22.1-10, 23.1-3: Listen // hope) Psalm 25.4-5

 

Reader: Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths.
Lead me in your truth, and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation;
for you I wait all day long.

One:    In the beginning was the Word—
spoken and breathed,
a promise made and kept.

All:     Listen and hear—
God’s promise is true!

One:    The Word was in the beginning,
and through him all things come into being.

All:     Eternal and near at hand,
Already and not-yet,
God’s promise is the foundation of all life.

One:    Listen!
Hear the covenant anew, giving voice to a future with hope.

~candle is lit~

 

December 6 (Advent 2—Isaiah 40.21-11: Speak // peace) Psalm 126.2

 

Reader: Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy;
then it was said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.”

One:    In the beginning was the Word—
spoken and breathed,
a promise made and kept.

All:     Speak it loud and clear—
God’s promise is true!

One:    The Word was in the beginning,
and through him all things come into being.

All:     Eternal and near at hand,
Already and not-yet,
God’s promise is the foundation of all life.

One:    Do not hold back!
Speak out, giving voice to God’s peace that passes all understanding.

~candle is lit~

 

December 13 (Advent 3—Ezra 1:1-4; 3:1-4, 10-13: Persevere // joy) Isaiah 12.5-6

 

Reader: Sing praises to the Lord, for he has done gloriously;
let this be known in all the earth.
Shout aloud and sing for joy, O royal Zion,
for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.

One:    In the beginning was the Word—
spoken and breathed,
a promise made and kept.

All:     Persevere in hope, keep the faith—
God’s promise is true!

One:    The Word was in the beginning,
and through him all things come into being.

All:     Eternal and near at hand,
Already and not-yet,
God’s promise is the foundation of all life.

One:    Keep going!
Persevere in joy, giving voice to God’s presence yet again.

~candle is lit~

 

 

December 20 (Advent 4—Luke 1.5-24a, 57-80: Trust // love) Luke 1.44-45

 

Reader: “As soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.”

One:    In the beginning was the Word—
spoken and breathed,
a promise made and kept.

All:     Trust the good news—
God’s promise is true!

One:    The Word was in the beginning,
and through him all things come into being.

All:     Eternal and near at hand,
Already and not-yet,
God’s promise is the foundation of all life.

One:    Trust in God!
Wait with faith, giving voice to Christ’s love for all.

~candle is lit~

 

December 24 (Christmas Eve—Glorify) Psalm 96

 

Reader: O sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth.
Sing to the Lord, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day.
Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples.

One:    In the beginning was the Word—
spoken and breathed,
a promise made and kept.

All:     Glorify the Lord with me—
God’s promise is true!

One:    The Word was in the beginning,
and through him all things come into being.

All:     Eternal and near at hand,
Already and not-yet,
God’s promise is the foundation of all life.

One:    Glory to God in the highest!
The Word is made flesh, giving voice to God’s promise yet again.

~candle is lit~

 

Submitted by Rev. Teri Peterson, The Presbyterian Church of Palatine, IL

Advent Candles–Sabbath

[This is a candle-lighting sequence for Advent following a 4-week theme of Sabbath – preaching each week on “Sabbath Hope”, “Sabbath Peace”, “Sabbath Joy” and “Sabbath Love”]

 

Advent 1

Today is the first Sunday in Advent – a four-week long journey preparing the way for Christ to be born again. This year, our Advent journey is more of a “stay-cation” – a Sabbath from the hectic lives, noise, and advertisements that bombard us in the world. We read in Genesis 2 that:

“On the seventh day, God had finished the work of creation, so God rested from all the work. And God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, because it was the day when God rested from all the work of creation.”

So we, too, have hope for a time of rest – a time set apart this season to remember God and contemplate all that God has done in the world.

We light the first candle to call us together to focus on the hope of quiet rest shared as a communal Sabbath.

The first purple candle is lit 

O God, we light the first candle of advent. We light the candle of hope.

 

Advent 2

Today, we continue our Advent journey in God’s Sabbath, a time of peace and quiet. We recognize that peace is not yet achieved, and pray for God’s peace to come to our chaotic world.  We read in John 14 that Jesus said:

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.”

So we, too, have hope for peace. We light these two candles to call us together to focus on the peace of a community worshiping together, united by our love for God.

the first two purple candles are lit

O God, we light the second candle of advent. We light the candles of hope and peace.

 

Advent 3

Today, we celebrate the joy of the Sabbath, a time of appreciation for work well done. We remember Jesus’ resurrection and long for his return. There may be lots of work left to do before that glorious day, but we are intentional about taking time to praise God in the meanwhile! In Deuteronomy 5, we read:

“Remember that you were once slaves in Egypt, but Adonai brought you out with a strong hand and a powerful arm. That is why Adonai has commanded you to rest on the Sabbath day.”

So, we take joy in our rest, for it reveals that we are a free people – and that we should extend the joy of rest to all in our lives.

We light these three candles to remember the joy of being set apart, a Sabbath to the world, in hope and peace.

the first two purple candles and the pink candle are lit

O God, we light the third candle of advent. We light the candles of hope, peace, and joy.

 

Advent 4

Today, we finish our Advent preparations and bask in the love of Christ. We remember how Christ showed love to both his disciples and complete strangers, healing, feeding, and walking closely even with the outcasts in his community. We, too, want to be prepared to follow Christ’s awesome way of love. We read in Mark 12 that Jesus said:

“The most important commandment is this: “Listen, O Israel! Adonai is the one and only God! You must love Adonai with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength. The second is equally important: Love your neighbor as yourself. No other commandment is greater than these.”

So we, on this Sabbath day, remember Jesus’ words, and try to put them into practice.

We light these four candles to remember God’s love for us, which calls us to be set apart in joy, hope, and peace.

three purple candles and the pink candle are lit

O God, we light the fourth candle of advent. We light the candles of hope, peace, joy, and love.

 

Christmas Eve

Today, we welcome Christ into our lives once again!  As we remember the special circumstances of Jesus’ birth, we remember, too, the light of preparation from our Advent Journey into Sabbath.

the first purple candle is lit

The candle of hope, calling us to wonder what might be in the year to come

the second purple candle is lit

The candle of peace, calling us to step away from the hustle and bustle of the world

the pink candle is lit

The candle of joy, calling us to praise God for freedom from oppression

the third purple candle is lit

The candle of love, calling us to love God and each other from Sabbath to Sabbath

All of these candles light the path for Christ’s return – not as a conquering hero, but as a little, helpless child. We read in Isaiah 9:

“The people who walk in darkness will see a great light… For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His government and its peace will never end. He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity!”

So, we light the Christ candle, signifying that God’s hope, peace, joy, and love are realized in Christ Jesus.

the white candle is lit

O God, we light the Christ candle, knowing that you are present with us at all times, but remembering especially when you were present with us in the flesh as Jesus Christ.

God, we welcome you into our midst! We long to bring you gifts, to touch your robe, to know the beautiful sound of your voice in our earthly ears. Our waiting is rewarded – not in the way we expect, but in the wonderful Good News of your birth, heralded by heavenly messengers and earthly shepherds alike. Help us to see you in each other, and to be set apart as your hope, peace, joy, and love in the world! Amen.

 

Submitted by Rev. Lucus Levy Keppel, Ancho + Corona Presbyterian Churches, New Mexico

Advent Candles: hope, peace, joy, love

1.
The first week of Advent is all about hope.
Think about hope as you hear Lamentations 3: 21-24:
“But this I call to mind,
and therefore I have hope:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases,
God’s mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“therefore I will hope in the Lord.”

One purple candle is lit.

Gracious God, As the Advent season begins, we cry out to you. We come to you looking for hope. When everything else we rely on fails us, our only hope is in you. When we do not understand what has happened, we hope in you. We can hope for better days because we trust you. We know you and we know you are here with us no matter what we are facing. Some of us see only darkness this time of year. Some of us find life overwhelming. Some of us are filled with Advent joy. Wherever we find ourselves today, Loving God, remind us that our hope is in you. Be with us on this journey. Amen.

 

2.

For the second week in Advent, we focus on peace.
In John 14:27, Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.”

Two purple candles are lit.

Prince of Peace, reveal yourself to us today. We need peace in our lives, our homes, our families, our church, and our whole world. Help us to slow down and seek out the peace you provide, so we may become peacemakers for ourselves and others. In your name, Prince of Peace, we pray. Amen.

 

3.

During the third week in Advent, we spend time thinking about joy.
From Psalm 5:11, we hear these words,
“But let all who take refuge in you rejoice;
let them ever sing for joy.
Spread your protection over them,
so that those who love your name may exult in you.”

Two purple candles and one pink candle are lit.

Too often, we think joy is something big, O God. A brass band or a parade can certainly bring us joy. Just as easily and far more often, we can feel joy in a hug or the squeeze of hand, we can see joy in a smile or hear it in laughter. Help us to not overlook the simple joys that peak into our lives daily. This week in our Advent journey, open our eyes to the joy that surrounds us. Amen.

 

4.

In this final week of Advent, our attention is on love. The following Scripture verses may sound very familiar, so we will hear them twice. The first time is in the New Revised Standard Version. The second time you’ll be reading from the Message. Listen for the call to love in these words.

Matthew 22:36-40 says, “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?”  He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’  This is the greatest and first commandment.  And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’  On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

”Teacher, which command in God’s Law is the most important?” Jesus said, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’ This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ These two commands are pegs; everything in God’s Law and the Prophets hangs from them.”

Three purple candles and one pink candle are lit.

God, we have learned to love from being loved by you. And so today, let us enact that love. Let us live that love. We know that what the world needs now is more love. We need to remember how much you love each one of us and we must share that love with others. Amen.

 

Christmas

Merry Christmas! Today is the day we have been preparing for throughout Advent. Jesus is born. Here is the story as recorded in Luke’s Gospel.

“ In those days Caesar Augustus declared that everyone throughout the empire should be enrolled in the tax lists. This first enrollment occurred when Quirinius governed Syria.  Everyone went to their own cities to be enrolled.  Since Joseph belonged to David’s house and family line, he went up from the city of Nazareth in Galilee to David’s city, called Bethlehem, in Judea.  He went to be enrolled together with Mary, who was promised to him in marriage and who was pregnant.  While they were there, the time came for Mary to have her baby.  She gave birth to her firstborn child, a son, wrapped him snugly, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the guestroom.

Nearby shepherds were living in the fields, guarding their sheep at night.  The Lord’s angel stood before them, the Lord’s glory shone around them, and they were terrified.

The angel said, “Don’t be afraid! Look! I bring good news to you—wonderful, joyous news for all people.  Your savior is born today in David’s city. He is Christ the Lord.  This is a sign for you: you will find a newborn baby wrapped snugly and lying in a manger.”  Suddenly a great assembly of the heavenly forces was with the angel praising God. They said, “Glory to God in heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors.”

When the angels returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go right now to Bethlehem and see what’s happened. Let’s confirm what the Lord has revealed to us.” They went quickly and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger.  When they saw this, they reported what they had been told about this child.  Everyone who heard it was amazed at what the shepherds told them.  Mary committed these things to memory and considered them carefully. The shepherds returned home, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. Everything happened just as they had been told.”

All five candles are lit.

We have been waiting for this day, Loving God. We have prepared ourselves for this special day. On this Christmas Day, let us live as those who let hope, peace, joy, and love reign in our lives. As the candles burn brightly and light our path, let us live as those who have the Christ’s light burning inside us today and everyday. Amen.

Submitted by Rev. Susannah DeBenedetto

Advent Candles: light in the darkness

Advent Candle Liturgy 2014
(Narrative Lectionary Year 1: Habakkuk 1-2-3, Esther, Isaiah 42, Matthew 1)

One: In the darkness a light shines
though shadows lengthen, the flame burns bright.
All: Day by day God draws nearer;
day by day we prepare.

Hymn 350: Keep Your Lamps, verse 1

~the candle is lit~

One: In the depths of creation, God planted a vision
breathed it into life,
wrote it on our hearts.

add in week 2 (ideally a second single voice):
In every time and every place,
in this time and this place,
we are called to witness to real power, real authority:
Love made flesh.

then add on for week 3 (with 3rd voice):
God declares a new thing,
heavens and earth sing glory.
The promise is true,
and we are its messengers.

then add on for week 4 (4th voice):
Do not be afraid:
God is with us!

All: The Spirit calls us still to share the good news:
light shines, and darkness will never overcome it!

 

(It’s possible that each week we’ll begin with no candles lit, and light a new one between each additional segment.)

Submitted by Rev. Teri Peterson, The Presbyterian Church of Palatine, IL

Advent 2: The Path to the Holy Mountain

Call to Worship/Lighting Advent Candles

The Advent journey has begun.
We have started getting ready for Christmas.
The light of one candle has guided us this little way.

The hope we have for something new is not enough to show us the way.
We need more light for the journey
if we are to find our way to God’s holy mountain,
the place where beloved community becomes real,
where all creation can dwell together without fear.

As we light this second Advent candle and continue on the journey to this holy place,
we remember that God’s light shows us that things can and will be different.
When things are at their most broken,
God can and will make all things new.

Friends, let us share our hope for this journey together:
Come, let us walk in the light of the Lord!


Prayer of Confession

God of hope,
you promise a new and different way of life,
and you invite us to join you on the path to get there.

Yet we usually prefer to stay on our own path.

We put ourselves before others
and so destroy the gift of life in each of us.

We fill our days with human pessimism,
assuming that nothing will ever get better
rather than welcoming your deep divine hope.

Forgive us, Lord.

Show us your hope anew in Jesus this Advent,
that we might see your branch sprouting anew in our midst
and fill our lives and the whole earth with our embrace of you.

 

submitted by Rev. Andy James, First Presbyterian Church, Whitestone, New York
part of The Path to the Holy Mountain series

prayers for Advent

need an opening prayer? A shortened prayer of confession/reconciliation? A preface for the prayers of the people? Here you go:

 

December 1:
God, we are ready for hope.  We long for the light of hope to shine in our lives.  Yet as we rush through our days, we fail to see the hope-filled gifts you’ve given us.  Help us slow down.  Enter our hearts with a gentle reminder of the hope you bring.  Open our eyes to the many blessings we’ve received so that we can turn toward others and share your gifts of hope.

December 8:
God, we are ready for peace.  We long to receive the Prince of Peace in our world.  Yet as we fill our lives with holiday projects, family activities and everyday tasks, we find it hard to make the time to welcome the light of peace.  We need your help, O God.  Guide us along the path toward healing and grace.  Kindle the flame of your peace within us, so that each day, each moment, we can shine the light of your love.

December 15:
God, we are ready for joy.  We long to be filled with your joyful good news.  Yet as even as we dream of the days when the hungry will be filled and the oppressed will be freed, we worry about what we might have to give up so that all your people can have enough.  Give us courage to set aside our privilege.  Give us strength to help bring about a world where everyone can sing songs of joy.

December 22:
God, we are ready for love.  We long to be held in your gentle and loving care.  Yet even as we plan and prepare to celebrate the birth of our loving Savior, we find ourselves exhausted and unable to offer a moment to a friend in need.  Touch our hearts and renew us with your love.  Remind us that your gracious gift of love is the greatest gift of all.  Help us share your loving presence with those around us.

 

Submitted by Rev. Debra Avery, First Presbyterian Church, Oakland CA.

Advent 1: The Path to the Holy Mountain

Call to Worship/Lighting Advent Candles

Thanksgiving is over, and Christmas will soon be here.
Even so, it is not yet time to celebrate.
First we must get ready.

Advent is a time of preparation, a season to get our house in order.
While we are decorating our homes, purchasing our gifts,
and getting ready for Christmas,
we also are called to turn our hearts to God,
to set our eyes on the mountain of the Lord,
the place where we find God’s grace, love, and peace
breaking into our world anew.

As we light this first Advent candle and wait for this new day to come,
we remember that God’s light is our guide for life in the world.
In the midst of any darkness that might surround us,
the light of the Lord will still prevail.

Friends, let us share our hope for this journey together:
Come, let us walk in the light of the Lord!


Prayer of Confession

God of mercy and compassion,
you invite us to join you on your holy mountain,
to follow you on a new path,
yet we prefer another way.

We stay close to the ways we know
rather than take up something new.

We prefer to stake out our own path
rather than watching for your way to emerge before us.

We place our trust in other guides
rather than having confidence that you will show us the way.

Forgive us, Lord.

Open a new path for us.
Show us the way to your holy mountain,
that we might know your ways and walk in your paths.

Give us eyes to see and ears to hear the new thing you are doing in our midst,
and give us hearts of hope and joy that walk in your light each and every day
until you come again.

 

submitted by Rev. Andy James, First Presbyterian Church, Whitestone, New York
part of The Path to the Holy Mountain series

elemental Advent Candles

One: Deeply planted in the mystery of life
is God’s love
gracing the world with presence and purpose.

All: We wait, longing for the dawning of God’s new day.
We prepare, trying to make room,
expectant yet despairing, hopeful yet wondering.
God too longs for the world’s transformation.
God too prepares—making us into vessels of light and love,
getting us ready to receive anew the gift.

One:

(week 1) Deeply planted in the mystery of life
is a spark
holding back darkness with possibility.

(week 2) Deeply planted in the mystery of life
is a breath
whispering hope in the silence.

(week 3) Deeply planted in the mystery of life
is a stream of living water
filling dry lands and dry people.

(week 4) Deeply planted in the mystery of life
is God’s presence
living among us, living promise, living Word.

All sung:
(insert your sung response here! We are using “As we light the advent candle” from Ruth Schram’s Light the Advent Candle)

 

~~note: you can choose whether to simply switch out the weekly section, or add on each week, keeping the previous week’s reading as well)~~

 

Submitted by Rev. Teri Peterson, the Presbyterian Church of Palatine, IL.

Looking Ahead–more advent candle ideas

This week as we continue to look ahead to the fast approaching season of Advent (when did it get to be only 10 days away?) we offer a set of Advent Candle lighting liturgies from the Rev. Elsa Peters, who currently serves the First Congregational Church (UCC) of Portland Maine. This is an interactive candle lighting, with space for conversation amongst the congregation, looking for God’s breaking-in to this world.

Do you have Advent ideas to share, tweaks, comments, thoughts, sparks, or liturgies? Put them in the comments!

First Sunday in Advent: Hope

[Ask worshipers to be seated]

*Introductory Sentences
One: Today we begin the Advent journey in search of hope. We search for hope in the trees and the branches of our own lives. We look for that moment where we might proclaim as the prophet Isaiah did:

*Scripture: Isaiah 64:3
One: When you did awesome deeds that we did not expect,
you came down, the mountains quaked at your presence.

*Lighting the Candle
One: O God, we light the first candle of Advent.
We light the candle of hope.

[First Candle is lit.]

We light this candle to illuminate those moments we’ve already seen the mountains quake, as we did… (name a vision of hope you’ve recently seen in your daily life, in your relationships or in the news).

*Unison Prayer
One: Let us pray together:
Light of our World, we hope for change in our own lives and in your world. We wait for war to end. We wait for violence to cease. We wait for your people to live with more love. In the warmth of your Light, we wait for hope to be revealed more fully. We wait together by the light of this candle, praying, Our Father…

~~~~~

Second Sunday in Advent: Peace

[Ask worshipers to be seated]

*Introductory Sentences
One: Today we continue our Advent search. We look for comfort in a broken world. We cry out for the peace we have not yet found. We find comfort as the prophet Isaiah did, when he remembered:

*Scripture: Isaiah 40:8
One: The grass withers, the flower fades;
but the word of our God will stand forever.

*Lighting the Candle
One: O God, we light the second candle of Advent.
We light the candle of peace.

[Second Candle is lit.]

We light this candle to shine like the sun on the buds of peace, which we see blooming in… (offer an image of some little hint of peace that you see growing in a friendship that was broken, in a family feud that has eased or in some other illustration you can imagine).

*Unison Prayer
One: Let us pray together:
Light of our World, we hope for change in our own lives and in your world. We wait for relationships to heal. We wait for peace to come. We wait for your people to live with more love. In the warmth of your Light, we wait for hope to be revealed more fully. We wait together by the light of this candle, praying, Our Father…

~~~~~

Third Sunday in Advent: Love

[Ask worshipers to be seated]

*Introductory Sentences
One: Today we stoke the fires of God’s love. We rejoice that love is within is. It is revealed when we bind up the brokenhearted and comfort those who mourn. We hope that love will blossom in the justice we seek, as the prophet Isaiah imagined:

*Scripture: Isaiah 61:11
One: For as the earth brings forth its shoots, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to spring up, so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring up before all the nations.

*Lighting the Candle
One: O God, we light the third candle of Advent.
We light the candle of love.

[Third Candle is lit.]

We light this candle to spring up with love. In the light and the warmth of this candle, we hope that love continues to grow in… (Share a brief story about how love has grown in the love that you share.)

*Unison Prayer
One: Let us pray together:
Loving God, pour into our hearts this day the light of your love, warming us to one another, enlightening our understanding of others, and blooming abundantly as only your love can, in Jesus’ name we pray, Our Father…(debts, debtors)

~~~~~

Fourth Sunday in Advent: Joy

[Ask worshipers to be seated]

*Introductory Sentences
One: Today we celebrate joy. Even though we don’t feel ready, we praise God. We celebrate the wonder that something amazing is happening in our lives. We marvel with Mary that this joy turns the whole world upside down:

*Scripture: Luke 1:52-53
One: God has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; God has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty.

*Lighting the Candle
One: O God, we light the fourth candle of Advent.
We light the candle of joy.

[Fourth Candle is lit.]

We light this candle with joy for what God is doing. We see the signs of promise in… (Share a brief story about a sign of God’s joy you see in the world right now, perhaps in something that has indeed turned everything upside down..)

*Unison Prayer
One: Let us pray together:
Eternal God, who magnifies each of our souls, help us to pay attention to your signs in these last few days before Christmas. Point us toward your joy. Orient us toward the joy that you offer to us now and always, in Jesus’ name we pray: Our Father…(debts, debtors)

~~~~~

December 24 – Christmas Eve: Christ is Come!

*Introductory Sentences
One: On this Christmas Eve, we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. As we wonder what this birth means to us, we recall where we have come on the journey.

*Lighting the Advent Candles
One: We recall our experiences of hope, peace, love and joy. Tonight, we re light the candles that marked our journey.

(Reader pauses as each candle is lit in order.)

The light of hope … (Candle is lit.)
The light of peace … (Candle is lit.)
The light of love … (Candle is lit.)
The light of joy… (Candle is lit.)

On this journey, we have been born into a new hope as the prophet Isaiah recalls:

*Scripture: Isaiah 9:6
One: For a child has been born for us, a child is given to us; authority rests upon this child’s shoulders; which we call Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Creator, Prince of Peace.

*Lighting the Christ Candles
One: O God, we light the Christ candle. We light the candle of our Savior.

(Christ candle is lit.)

We light the Christ candle to remember that the miracle of birth didn’t happen just once, but happens every day we choose to see you in our world. God, we see you… (name a time, at Christmas or some other time, when you’ve been able to see God.)

* Unison Prayer
One: Let us pray together:
Holy God, we rejoice in your presence! The birth of your holy child is your answer to our unrest, our confusion and our sorrow. Tonight, we live in Hope, we pray for Peace, we share your Love, as we are filled with your Joy. Now, let us be your Hope, your Peace, your Love and your Joy in this world, as Christ Jesus grew to teach us all: Our Father . . . (debts, debtors)

looking ahead: advent candles

Often coming up with liturgy for the lighting of the Advent Candle is the most difficult part of preparing for Advent–finding or writing something that connects to the text, the theme, and carries week to week in some way (whether format, theme, language, or tone) can throw even the most organized among us into a procrastinating panic. So, with a few weeks still to go, we’re sharing some Candle liturgies to inspire, borrow, tweak…if you’ve written Advent Candle Lighting liturgy and want to share, please send it to liturgylink at gmail dot com. Thanks! In the comments for today, let’s work on candle liturgies together.

And now, to this week’s submission from Martha Spong, pastor of North Yarmouth Congregational Church in North Yarmouth, Maine.

Advent Wreath Litanies for Year B (all texts Revised Songbird Version, except Christmas Eve, which is NRSV)

Advent 1B (based on Isaiah 64:1-4)

Reader One: Isaiah the Prophet cried out to God, I wish you would open the heavens that separate us and come down, making the mountains quake because you are here. Make your name known to all who are against you. Make the nations tremble because of your presence.
Reader Two: You came before and did awesome deeds that we did not expect; you made our world shake at the sight of you. In all the history of the world, no ears have heard and no eyes have seen any God other than you.
Reader One: You work for those who wait for you.
Reader Two: We wait and hope, as we light this candle.
(Please pause as we light one candle, then respond.)
All: Loving God, come and shine your light in the world!

Advent 2B (based on Isaiah 40:1-2, 9-11)

Reader One: Isaiah the Prophet reassured the people, God is sending words of comfort to you, speaking tenderly to you. God promises that your hard labor is over, your sentence has been served and your penalty has been paid. You are forgiven not once but double all that is needed.
Reader Two: Go up to a high mountain, and call out the good news! Lift your voices up with strenth and call out the good news! Do not be afraid! Your God is coming.
Reader One: Our God is mighty, but our God is also gentle. God loves the flock and will feed it just the way a shepherd would, holding us close like lambs and guiding us, old and young.
Reader Two: We wait for God’s peace and live in God’s hope as we light these candles.
(Please pause as we light two candles, then respond.)
All: Loving God, come and shine your light in the world!

Advent 3B (based on Isaiah 61:1-4)

Reader One: Isaiah the Prophet announced it. The Spirit of God is with me, because I have been chosen to bring good news to the abused, to bandage the wounds of the heartbroken, and to release those who are in prisons of all kinds. I am here to proclaim a good year in God’s sight, a time when things will be set right.
Reader Two: I am here to comfort the grieving and to dress them for happy times instead of sad ones.
Reader One: The people who are healed and comforted will be like strong trees, upright and loyal to God. They will be like a forest planted to show God’s glory. They will rebuild the world and show everyone God’s power.
Reader Two: We wait for the day of God’s joy, and live in God’s peace and hope, as we light these candles.
(Please pause as we light three candles, then respond.)
All: Loving God, come and shine your light in the world!

Advent 4B (based on Psalm 89:19-23)

Reader One: The Psalmist receive a vision from God, who said, I have put a crown on the head of a new king, a mighty one chosen and anointed with oil.
Reader Two: My hand will always be with him; my arm will strengthen him.
Reader One: My faithfulness and steadfast love with be with the one I’ve chosen.
Reader Two: We wait for God’s love coming to us. The day of God’s joy is soon coming. We live in God’s peace and hope as we light these candles.
(Please pause as we light four candles, then respond.)
All: Loving God, come and shine your light in the world!

Christmas Eve Year B (based on Isaiah 9:2, 6-7)

Reader One: Hear the words of the Prophet Isaiah: “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness on them light has shined…For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
Reader Two: “His authority shall grow continually, and there shall be endless peace for the throne of David and his kingdom. He will establish and uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time onward and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.”
Reader One: We stand on the brink of God’s time and light again the candles of Hope, Peace, Joy and Love.
Reader Two: We light the Christ Candle to celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus, the light coming into the world.
(Please pause as we light the candles, then respond.)
All: Loving God, come and shine your light in the world!