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Advent Wreath Prayers (Any Year)

 

Week 1: Hope Candle

Reader: The first candle on the Advent wreath reminds us to think of hope. We hope for many things. We hope to finish what we start. We hope that the sermon is short. We hope for long lives for people we love. We hope that God will save us from hard times and painful lessons. Hope is the shape of our work and our words, while we wait for a future that only God knows.

Light the candle

All: Holy and gracious God, your mercy and constancy are the headwaters of our hope. Our desires for Your promised future flow out of Your past and present faithfulness. We thank you, O God. Our hope is in you. Come, Lord Jesus. Amen.

Week 2: Peace Candle

Reader: The first candle on the Advent wreath was the candle for hope. The second candle reminds us to pray and work for peace. We are also called, through the Holy Spirit, to look for the signs of God’s peace in the world. Peace is not merely the absence of fighting or war. Peace is the restoration of relationships within creation and between peoples and nations to their true order, which bring glory to their Creator.

Light the candle

All: Holy and life-giving God, your Son, our Savior, carries the title “Prince of Peace”. You have called us to imitate Him in thought, word, and deed. Let us seek to be peacemakers in our homes, in the community, and in the world. We thank you, God, for Your peace, which passes all understanding. Come, Lord Jesus. Amen.

Week 3: Joy Candle

Reader: The first candle on the Advent wreath is for hope and the second is for peace. The third candle we light is for joy. Advent is a season of waiting. Even as we wait for the fulfillment of all God’s good plans, we find joy in the work of God all around us. The Spirit calls us to joy in our vocations- paid and unpaid work, relationships, and service. We find joy in sharing the good news of Jesus Christ. We cherish the joy of Mary and Joseph, of Elizabeth and Zechariah, of the shepherds and the angels, and of the whole creation.

Light the candle

All: Holy and compassionate God, your faithfulness in all things produces the harvest of our joy. We rejoice in You, always. Even in our seasons of doubt and darkness, we can find joy in the presence of Christ in our neighbors and the witness of the Holy Spirit in creation. Stir up our holy joy, that we may share it with all whom we encounter for the sake of Your gospel. Come, Lord Jesus. Amen.

Week 4: Love Candle

Reader: We have lit candles for hope, peace, and joy. The fourth candle on the Advent wreath is for love. In this season of waiting, we are called to remember that God has always so loved the world. When the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, it was not a new development. Jesus’ birth was in keeping with the Divine self-revelation that has existed since the before the beginning of time. God’s love is for all people, in all places, in all times. God’s love does not end and there is nothing, human or spiritual, that can separate us from that love, poured out through Christ Jesus our Lord.

Light the candle.

All: Holy and loving God, Your love is the greatest gift of our lives. It brings us into this world and it meets us in the life of the world to come. May Your love so shape our lives that our daily actions reveal Your light to the world. Come, Lord Jesus. Amen.

Christmas Eve: Christ Candle

Reader: The Advent candles burned brightly, drawing our hearts and minds to hope, peace, joy, and love. Now, at last, on Christmas Eve, we light our Christ Candle. This candle is the center of our celebration, just as Christ has a place at the very center of our lives. Jesus Christ is the anchor of our hope, the bringer of true peace, the source of all joy, and the witness of love between family members, neighbors, friends, and those who were formerly enemies. On this day, and all days, we celebrate the gift of God coming into the world, as one of us, to learn and grow and suffer as one of us. In the same way, even as he lived as a full human being, Jesus was the Christ, God’s anointed, who had the fullness of God within himself- the power to bring life out of death. We celebrate Christ’s birth. We give thanks for Christ’s life and resurrection. We rejoice in Christ’s presence in the world today. We anticipate the promise of Christ’s future, when all will be made new.

Light the Candle

All: God of all glory, this day and all days belong to you. You alone are worthy of our full praise, devotion, and thanksgiving. We, who have so much, dare to ask for one more thing. We humbly ask that you fill our hearts with Christmas grace- the power to restore, to welcome, to celebrate, and to see Christ’s power brought forth in this world. Pour this Christmas grace into our heart and give it substance in our thoughts, our words, and our deeds. In Christ’s own name, we pray. Amen. 

Submitted by Rev Julia Seymour, Big Timber Lutheran Church, MT

Advent confession: we’ve bought in

Well, loving God, we’ve done it again. We’ve bought into – literally and figuratively- the messages bombarding us and telling us that in order to herald this Advent season, we need to shop: shop earlier, shop ‘round the clock, shop now and pay later, shop for folks we haven’t even spoken to in years. And so we do. Then we blame the season itself when we feel tired and burned out. We are in need of your comfort, your forgiveness and your peace. Come, Holy Spirit, refresh us, reorient us and show us the True Wonder of these days.

 

Submitted by Jerie Lukefahr

Communion: Word made flesh

The Lord be with you.  And also with you.
Lift up your hearts.  We lift them to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give our thanks and praise.

Good and gracious God,
we thank you for your presence among us,
that you would bring us the eternal Word made flesh,
that you would call us your beloved children,
that you would send your light into the darkness.
To you we ascribe all thanks and praise,
for you alone are our hope and our salvation.
Through the power of your speech,
you brought all creation into order;
all things have come into being through you;
not one single thing is exempt from your creation.

With all creation, with people in every time and place,
we join the everlasting chorus:

Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might.
Heaven and earth are full of your glory.  Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.  Hosanna in the highest.

We remember how, on that holy night,
Mary and Joseph could find no place to stay,
so they found a manger and made their bed with the animals of the stable.
Through these marginalized people seeking refuge,
you made your presence known to the world.

We remember how the shepherds and the wisemen gathered
to worship the child who would redeem all of creation.
Their gifts were brought to pay homage to the true King.
We give you thanks for the gifts of this Table,
which are given to us to proclaim your holy and majestic name.

We remember how this child grew up,
growing in wisdom and in years,
embodying your goodness in word and deed,
healing people, comforting people, loving stranger and friend.

We remember how he gathered his friends on the night he was betrayed,
how he took the bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to his disciples saying:
“take, eat, do this in remembrance of me.”

Likewise, he took the cup and, pouring it, said:
“this is the cup of salvation, shed in my blood, for the forgiveness of sins.
Do this in remembrance of me.”

For as long as we eat this bread and drink this cup,
we proclaim the resurrection of our living savior until he comes again.

As we wait, watch, and wonder with the wisemen and the shepherds,
we proclaim the mystery of faith:

Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.

We give thanks for your gifts of grace and goodness in this season of Christmas.
May this meal of remembrance transform us into your servants,
going out into the world to proclaim your resurrection
and to welcome all to partake in your reign of peace, love, and harmony.
As we prepare to live as your disciples,
hear us as we pray as you taught us to pray, saying:

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors;
and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil,
for thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever.  Amen.

Submitted by Rev. Stephen M. Fearing, Shelter Island Presbyterian Church, NY