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Advent Candles: God-With-Us

Week 1
(Ezekiel 34)

One: Immanuel, God-with-us
One: Incarnate, taking-on-flesh
All: Right here, right now.
One: Light in the shadows,
One: Flickering yet strong,
All: Leading us in the way.
One: We light a candle of hope,
that we might better see our Good Shepherd,
our with-us God
who sits down in our midst
to share our humanity.
~candle is lit~

Sing: O Come O Come Emmanuel, verse 1 and “Wisdom”

 

Week 2
(Isaiah 42.1-9, 56.1-8)

One: Immanuel, God-with-us
One: Incarnate, taking-on-flesh
All: Right here, right now.
One: Light in the shadows,
One: Flickering yet strong,
All: Leading us in the way.
One: We light a candle of peace,
that we might better see the good reason we are called
by our with-us God
who sits down in our midst
to share our humanity.
~candle is lit~

Sing: O Come O Come Emmanuel verse 1 and “Desire of Nations”

 

Week 3
(Jeremiah 31.1-25)

One: Immanuel, God-with-us
One: Incarnate, taking-on-flesh
All: Right here, right now.
One: Light in the shadows,
One: Flickering yet strong,
All: Leading us in the way.
One: We light a candle of joy,
that we might better see the way to good relationship
with our with-us God
who sits down in our midst
to share our humanity.
~candle is lit~

Sing: O Come O Come Emmanuel verse 1 and “Key of David”

 

Week 4
(Matthew 1.18-25)

One: Immanuel, God-with-us
One: Incarnate, taking-on-flesh
All: Right here, right now.
One: Light in the shadows,
One: Flickering yet strong,
All: Leading us in the way.
One: We light a candle of love,
that we might better see the good news
of our with-us God
who sits down in our midst
to share our humanity.
~candle is lit~

Sing: O Come O Come Emmanuel, verse 1 and “Dayspring”

 

Submitted by Rev. Teri Peterson, St. John’s Church of Scotland, Gourock

** “with-us God who sits down in our mids to share our humanity” is from an affirmation in the Iona Abbey Worship Book.

(we will be using this with two voices alternating the “one” lines, but it could be done with one leader and the congregation responding.)

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

Illumination: teach us to live

Risen Christ, fill us with your Spirit
and speak peace to us through these words of scripture.
As we hear you, let our love overflow
with knowledge and insight,
and teach us to live in you,
to the glory and praise of God. Amen.

 

Rev. Nathan Williams, Covenant Presbyterian Church. West Des Moines, IA

A Spark of…. Advent Candle Liturgies (year B)

Week 1 (Hope) Candle (Isaiah 64, Mark 13)
One: Come, Emmanuel.
The world is over-full of things that do not satisfy.
We watch and prepare, for divine presence to shake our complacency.
~candle is lit~
All: A spark of hope lights the way—
Clearing our vision and renewing our minds
To recognize God’s glory in our midst.

 

Week 2 (Peace) Candle (Isaiah 40, Mark 1)
One: Come, Emmanuel.
The world is not ready, the field is still uneven,
Yet we watch and prepare to see God’s glory revealed, together.
~candle is lit~
All: A spark of peace lights the way—
Despite our fast-fading courage,
We w
ill follow the voice calling us in the wilderness toward Shalom.

 

Week 3 (Joy) Candle (Isaiah 61, John 1)
One: Come, Emmanuel.
Days grow short and to-do lists lengthen.
We watch and prepare, for the Word is coming, full of grace and truth.
~candle is lit~
All: A spark of joy lights the way—
Though the flame flickers against the shadows,
We will rejoice in God’s covenant of everlasting love.

 

Week 4 (Love) Candle (Luke 1)
One: Come, Emmanuel.
The time draws near, each moment magnified
As we watch and prepare, for God is doing great things!
~candle is lit~
All: A spark of love lights the way—
Turning the world around to match the promise:
That we love because God first loved us.

 

Submitted by Rev. Teri Peterson.

Confession: fading away

Holy and loving God, we hear your voice in the wilderness, and we come, seeking a glimpse of your glory in these days of lengthening darkness. We look for your star shining in the night sky, for the flickering candle holding back the shadows, and we strain our ears to listen for your word amidst the clamor of the festive season.
We confess that we don’t always want to hear what you are saying. We don’t want to turn and go another way, nor to stop and wait in the quiet when there is fun to be had. We are skeptical of comfort that is more than warm fuzzy feelings, or that asks something of us. We confess that we are prone to fading away like flowers and grass, unable to withstand challenges to our way of thinking or our way of life. And yet still you call, still you tell us to take comfort, still you come among us and live within us and believe in us.
Forgive us, O God, our fickle hearts, so often full of things other than you. Forgive our tendency to wander away, to prefer shallow comfort to your deep peace. Open us again to your love, that we may walk with you in every way. We pray in the name of Christ, the prince of peace. Amen.

 

Submitted by Rev. Teri Peterson

Confession + Assurance: Hope for God’s Children

Beloved God, your hopes for us can seem far removed. How can we work for a better tomorrow when today is so difficult? How can it be that people so different from us can also be your children? You call us to serve each other in love, and we instead demand service from others. You call us heirs to your Kingdom of peace, and we act like spoiled children, throwing tantrums when we don’t get our way. Help us to see your way before us – and call us back to right relationship with you and each other. Amen.

Family of God – hear this good news: God’s mercy is boundless, and God’s love is beyond all understanding. God has already forgiven you, and is calling on you again to serve each other, to build the Kingdom, and to celebrate your ties with one another.

Praise be to God! Amen.

 

Submitted by Rev. Lucus Levy Keppel, Trinity Presbyterian Church in Bixby, Okla.

Illumination: nothing but your will

God of love, through these words,
let your Holy Spirit teach us to love you completely.
Let our heart desire nothing but your will.
Let our soul feel nothing but your joy.
Let our mind know nothing but your truth.
Let our strength serve nothing but your peace.
Through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

 

Submitted by Rev. Nathan Williams, Echo Hill Presbyterian Church, IA

Advent Candles: Light of the World

Light of the World: Hope from Romans 8:19-25

We gather this morning as the children of God.

In hope that all creation will be set free from bondage and decay.

We offer ourselves as the first fruits of this redemption.

For in hope, we were saved.

We light this candle in the hope that saved us and the hope of what we do not yet see.

Come, Lord Jesus, come.

 

Light of the World: Peace from Isaiah 9:2, 6; John 14:27

We gather as people who walked in darkness but have seen a great light.

Once we lived in a land of deep darkness—on us, the light of peace 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.

He is the Prince of Peace.

We light this candle in the peace of Christ and for the peace the world has yet to know.

Come, Lord Jesus, come.

 

Light of the World: Joy from John 15:11, 16:20-22

We gather as people of hope and peace.

May our joy be complete.

Though the broken world may bring us to lament and repentance, our sorrow will turn to joy.

No one can take away the joy Christ completes in us.

We light this candle with the joy of those who have heard and experienced the Word made flesh even as we wait for Christ to come again.

Come, Lord Jesus, come.

 

Light of the World: Love from 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, 12

We gather in the love of Christ: a love that is patient and kind; love that is not envious, boastful, arrogant or rude.

In love, we rejoice in the truth.

Through the love of Christ, we find we can bear all things, believe all things, endure all things.

In love, we hope in all things.

We light this candle to declare a love that never ends and for the day when it is fully known in the world.

Come, Lord Jesus, come.

 

Submitted by Michelle Henrichs

Advent Wreath Liturgies: Hope, Peace, Joy, Love

Advent Wreath Liturgies
Advent 1 – Hope
Today we light the first candle of Advent, the candle of Hope. (Light Candle)
We put our hope in the one to come, the promised one who comes from God to
bring good news of salvation. We hope in the one who will lead us to walk in the light of the LORD. We hope he will not let us live in dark valleys, but on the high mountain of God.
We light this candle in Hope.
On this day, we remember to hopefully look for the coming of Christ.
Advent 2 – Peace
Last Sunday we lit the candle of Hope, remembering the hope which comes in Christ. (Light Candle). Today we light the second candle of Advent, the candle of Peace.
God has a peaceful dream for the world, and we dream it too. We dream of peaceful world full of wolves and leopards and lions eating and sleeping and dancing with lambs, kids, and calves. We dream of a peaceful world where nations come together, where war is a memory, and we eat at one table.
We light this candle in Peace.
On this day, we remember the Lord of All who brings peace surpassing all understanding.
Advent 3 – Joy
Last Sunday we lit the candle of Hope, remembering the hope which comes in Christ, and we lit the candle of Peace, remembering God’s dream of a peaceful world. (Light Candles). Today we light the third candle of Advent, the candle of Joy.
In Advent, we are in a time of waiting. Like the Israelites who wandered through the Wilderness, waiting to come into the Promised Land, we wait for the coming of the Joy of Ages. We wait for the day where we can join our voices with the angels to sing “Joy to the World, the Lord is come!” We wait for the day when everlasting joy will be on each of us.
We light this candle in Joy. (Light Candle)
On this day, we remember the Spirit who breathes joy into our lives.
Advent 4 – Love
Last Sunday we lit the candle of Hope, remembering the hope which comes in Christ, the candle of Peace, remembering God’s dream of a peaceful world, and the candle of Joy, remembering the Spirit within us who brings joy. (Light Candles). Today we light the fourth candle of Advent, the candle of Love.
Scripture tells us “There is no fear in love, for perfect love casts out fear.” (1 John 4:18). God created this world in love and this world will end in the love of God. God’s love pervades all aspects of this life. From birth to death, pain to delight, strangers to lovers, God’s love is there.
We light this candle in Love. (Light Candle)
On this day, we remember God is Love.
Christmas Eve – Light
Throughout this season we have lived, waited, and remembered the hope, peace, joy, and love of God found in Christ. (Light Candles) Tonight we gather together and light candles in honor of the Christ Child.
With the birth of Christ, salvation has drawn near. The God who ordered the chaos of the universe has come down into the chaos of our world. The Word which was with God at the beginning came down and lived with us. While we were yet living in the valley of the shadow of death, the light of new life burst forth.
We light this candle for Christ.
On this night, we remember God has come in the Christ Child.
Submitted by Rev. Will Ryan, First Christian Church (DOC), Burlington, Iowa

Opening words for Easter 2

Call to Worship

When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week,

Jesus came and stood among the disciples and said: Peace be with you!

The Risen Christ is with us now, offering us the gift of peace.

Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.

                We too have seen the Lord. Let us rejoice and give thanks!

Let us worship God!

 

Opening Prayer

Living God,

When our Risen Lord appeared to his disciples,

he greeted them in peace

and breathed the Holy Spirit upon them.

Breathe your Spirit upon us

                as we gather to welcome Christ

                with glad hearts and joyful voices.

Meet us here, we pray;

open our ears to hear you speaking

and our hearts to respond with joy.

Fashion us into an Easter people,

and send us out

to proclaim what we have seen and heard:

Christ is risen. He is risen indeed! Amen.

Submitted by Rev. Sudie Niesen Thompson, Westminster Presbyterian Church, Wilmington, DE