Hope: Sunday, November 29, 2020
Today we light the candle of hope. As the flame begins to burn on this first candle of Advent, we are reminded how far we’ve come. From our ancestors of the faith who walked in the wilderness for 40 years, to the year that we have all experienced together. Hope does not come from instant gratification. Instead, it comes from a longing inside of us that knows things can be different. And yet, this year we have learned how to wait and hope at the same time.
As we light the candle of hope, we acknowledge a longing inside of all of us. We acknowledge the tension between waiting and hoping. We acknowledge the stubborn hope that holds us in one with each other as we begin our journey through Advent.
Prayer: Holy God, we thank you for the gift of hope that we find in Christ Jesus. Remind us of your presence as we live another week of hoping and longing. Amen.
Peace: Sunday, December 6, 2020
Today we light the candle of peace, along with the candle of hope. Lighting this second candle reminds us of the complexity of what it means to feel peace this year. With a year full of uncertainty, anxiety, and fear, the peace candle invites us into a safe and secure space where we can just be.
As we light the candle of peace, we acknowledge the times this year when peace has felt too far away. We acknowledge the times when our peace has felt insecure. We acknowledge our shared desire for your safe presence of peace as we continue in our Advent journey.
Prayer: Holy God, we thank you for the gift of peace that is found in Christ Jesus. Remind us of the safety and security of your peace as we enter into another week. Amen.
Joy: Sunday, December 13, 2020
Today we light the candle of hope, the candle of peace, and the pink candle- the candle of joy. This candle is also known as the Mary candle. Mary demonstrates for us the grace, humility, and determination of the woman who carried the Incarnate Joy of the world- Christ Jesus. Mary reminds us that we, too, carry this same Joy in our lives as we live in a world that lifts up the powerful over the lowly, the prideful over the humble, and the strong over the weak.
As we light this candle of joy, we acknowledge how hard it is to feel joy this year. We acknowledge Mary as a teacher of how to carry the weight of the world on her shoulders. We acknowledge our shared Incarnate Joy of Christ within us as we continue our journey of Advent.
Prayer: Holy God, we thank you for the gift of joy that is found in Christ Jesus. Remind us of this Incarnate Joy within us as we enter into another week ahead. Amen.
Love: Sunday, December 20, 2020
Today we light the candle of love, along with the candle of hope, the candle of peace, and the candle of joy. On this last Sunday in Advent, we invite the fruit of love to enter our hearts. Love has looked different this year. It has been in the manufactured silence of shared screens. It has been in the wearing of masks for our neighbors. It has been in the abrupt adaptability of our daily lives.
This candle reminds us that love has no bounds in the midst of a time of strict boundaries. The active, intentional lighting of the candle of love allows us to acknowledge how love has changed us this year. How love has comforted us this year. How love has invited us into a warm candle-lit Advent Wreath through our screens as we prepare for Christmas.
Prayer: Holy God, we thank you for this gift of love that is found in Christ Jesus. Remind us of this love in our lives as we prepare our hearts for Christmas. Amen.
Christ: Friday, December 25, 2020
Today we light the candle of hope, the candle of peace, the candle of joy, the candle of love, and the Christ candle. We have one thing to say today: Christ has finally come. Hope, peace, joy, and love have finally come. The darkness of Advent has passed, and the light of Christmas invites us into the warm glow of the completed Advent Wreath.
As we light this candle, we sit in the knowing and affirming that Christ is here. Christ is now.
Prayer: Holy God, we thank you for the birth of your Son, Christ Jesus, who demonstrates for us the gifts of hope, peace, joy, and love. Grant us attentive and inviting spirits to these gifts as we enter the Christmas season. Amen.
Submitted by Meredith Menius, Ardmore United Methodist Church, Winston-Salem, NC