Jesus was born into a world which, on an elemental level, was much like our own. He felt the earth beneath his feet, the sun on his face, the wind on the water, and the rain falling to nourish the soil. The lakes, seas, sun, wind, moon, and stars were all part of his life. He looked up and saw the glory of the night sky just as we do. He gave thanks for trees and growing things, just as we do.
In this season of gifts and giving, we recognize the deep blessing of the world around us. With gratitude, we anticipate the birth of Jesus – the One who came to show us the way of hope, peace, joy, and love.
Advent 1 – Sky
Arise, shine; for your light has come,
and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. (Isaiah 60:3)
In the sun, in the stars, in the light of the moon…we see the glory of our God. Soon, the One we call the Light of the World, will be born again in our hearts, minds, and spirits.
Candle is lit
Wondrous, Holy God, today we begin our time of Advent waiting. We pray, shine the light of your love upon us, and fill us with hope as we make our way toward the stable, the cradle, and the birth that changed everything…the birth of Jesus. Amen.
Advent 2 – Wind
“The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” (John 3:8)
We often associate the Holy Spirit with the wildness and unpredictability of wind. May the breath of the Spirit bring us energy and creativity as we continue on our Advent journey toward Bethlehem.
Candle is lit.
Spirit of God, Energy of Life, hear our prayer as we continue our Advent journey together. Wherever you lead us, wherever you need us, give us the faith to trust your guidance…as Mary did, as Joseph did, as the Wise Ones did. Amen.
Advent 3 – Earth
“Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them; let all the trees of the forest sing for joy.” (Psalm 96: 12)
By the grace of God, and the wonder of the natural world, the earth provides. As Mary and Joseph made their way to Bethlehem for the census, they had food to sustain them – bread made from grain grown in good soil. There was hay for the stable, and grass for the animals to eat while the shepherds watched over them. The goodness of God’s creation celebrates with us on our Advent journey.
Candle is lit
Creator God, we see your grace and goodness in the world around us. In trees, and fields, and the beauty of creation, we find deep joy. Bless us on our Advent way as we await the birth of Jesus. Amen.
Advent 4 – Water
“But let justice roll down like waters, righteousness like an ever-flowing stream!” (Amos 5:24)
Before his birth, Jesus swam in the life-giving waters of Mary’s womb. He was baptized in the River Jordan and called his first disciples as they repaired their fishing nets by the lakeshore. When he needed respite, Jesus went to the water for rest and healing. Water, for Jesus, and for all of us, is life. As we come to the final days of our Advent journey, may we be filled with the hope, joy, peace, and love of Jesus.
Candle is lit
Gracious God, giver of life, as we journey to Bethlehem and the manger, we are thankful for the blessing of this season. For all the blessings around us, for the wonder of creation, and for the gift of Jesus – Emmanuel, God with us – our spirits soar with praise and thanksgiving. Amen.
submitted by Rev. Susan Ivany, Westminster United Church, Thunder Bay, Ontario