2013 Advent Candle Lighting Liturgy (Kropinak)

by Lisa Kropinak

First Week of Advent (Hope)

Reader 1: "In days to come the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be raised above the hills; all the nations shall stream to it" (Isaiah 2:2, NRSV)

Reader 2: We begin the first week of Advent with hope in God’s promised arrival. A favorite Advent hymn "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel" (UMH 211) was written by Anglican priest John Mason Neal in the mid-1800s.  This beautiful hymn reflects the hope we celebrate today.

Reader 3: The hymn’s sixth verse speaks to hope, "O come, thou Dayspring, come and cheer our spirits by Thine advent here; disperse the gloomy clouds of night, And death's dark shadows put to flight." 

As we light the first candle of Advent, we carry into our gloomy places the light of Hope.

(Light one blue candle)

Reader 4: Let us Pray.
 Lord of Hope, we await your coming with great expectation.  Our lives are marked by hope, even when our circumstance might prove to the contrary.  May we put to flight the dark shadows of others this Advent season. Amen.

Opening Hymn:  UMH 211, "O Come, O Come Emmanuel."

Second Week of Advent (Peace)

Reader 1: "The wolf shall live with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid, the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them. . . . They will not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain; for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea " (Isaiah 11: 6, 9, NRSV).

Reader 2:  Peace and rest are often lacking during the Advent season as we find it hard to make space to prepare for the arrival of the Messiah.  Charles Wesley wrote Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus in 1744, and he understood stress, conflict, and lack of rest.  Charles and his brother John faced many who disagreed with their movement and traveled in harsh conditions with little to no rest, all for the mission of spreading the gospel. 

Reader 3:  "Come, thou long-expected Jesus, born to set Thy people free; from our fears and sins release us, let us find our rest in Thee." 

The first verse evokes the longing we feel to find freedom and rest that is rare in modern life. As we light the second candle of Advent, may we commit time each day to think on the Lord and find a fleeting moment of peace.

(Light two blue candles)

Reader 4: Let us Pray.
 Lord of Peace, we await your coming with great expectation.  Our lives are marked by peace, even when our circumstance might prove to the contrary.  May we bring reconciliation and Sabbath rest to others this Advent season. Amen.

Opening Hymn:  UMH 196. "Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus."

Third Week of Advent (Joy)

Reader 1 "The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad, the desert shall rejoice and blossom; like the crocus it shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice with joy and singing " (Isaiah 35: 1-2a, NRSV).

Reader 2:  "Joy to the World" is a beloved carol written in the early 1700s by Isaac Watts.  It captures the enthusiasm we feel when announcing to the world the joy of our Messiah.  

Reader 3:  The first verse speaks to this joy, "Joy to the world! The Lord is come; let earth receive her King.  Let every heart prepare Him room, and heaven and nature sing." 

As we light the third candle of Advent, let us carry the joy of our redemption into the world that the people may catch the Spirit.

(Light two blue candles and one pink candle.)

Reader 4: Let us Pray.
  Lord of Joy we await your coming with great expectation.  Our lives are marked by joy even when our circumstance might prove to the contrary.  May we bring joy to every heart this Advent season. Amen.

Opening Hymn:  UMH 246. "Joy to the World!"

Fourth Week of Advent (Love):

Reader 1:  "Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel" (Isaiah 7:14, NRSV).

Reader #2:  John Mason Neale who brought us the beautiful Advent hymn "O Come, O Come Emmanuel" we sang in week one also translated the text of this beautiful and haunting hymn "Of the Father's Love Begotten."  The original work was written by Aurelius Clemens Prudentius in the late fourth century. 

Reader 3:  "Of the Father's love begotten, ere the worlds began to be, He is Alpha and Omega, He the source the ending He, of the things that are, that have been, and the future years shall see, evermore and evermore."

Captured here is the love of God who is larger than the universe and yet joined us and walked our journey.  As we light the fourth candle of Advent, let us reflect on the immense love of our God as we await the arrival of a very special baby.

(Light three blue candles and one pink candle)

Reader 4: Let us Pray.
Lord of Love, we await your coming with great expectation.  Our lives are marked by love even when our circumstance might prove to the contrary.  May we bring love to every heart this Advent season. Amen.

Opening Hymn:  UMH 184, "Of the Father’s Love Begotten."

 

Christmas Eve:

Reader 1 "Bethlehem … though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be Ruler in Israel." (Micah 5:2.)

Reader 2:  Episcopalian priest Phillips Brooks in 1868 wrote this beautiful carol that captures the wonder of the infant King.  Lewis Redner added the melody that has the feel of a lullaby.  Together they allow us to approach the baby's manger and take a peek inside.

Reader 3:  The third verse describes the miracle of the moment we celebrate tonight.  "How silently, how silently, the wondrous gift is given; so God imparts to human hearts, the blessing of His heaven.  No ear may hear His coming, but in this world of sin; where meek souls will receive Him still, the dear Christ enters in." 

As we light the candle of Christ, may we carry the light of our redemption into the world that all people may catch the Spirit. 

(Light all the candles and the center white Christ candle.)

Reader 4:
Let us Pray.  Jesus our Messiah, we celebrate your arrival with gratitude.  Our lives are marked by your light, even when our circumstance might prove to the contrary.  May we hold this light in our heart and reflect it to a darkened world in the year to come. Amen.

Opening Hymn:  UMH 230. "O Little Town of Bethlehem."

 


Lisa Kropinak is pastor of Windham UMC in Windham, Ohio.

"2013 Advent Candle Lighting," Copyright © 2013 by Lisa Kropinak. Published with the autho's permission by The General Board of Discipleship of The United Methodist Church. You may reproduce this resource for congregational use, provided the following statement is included in every copy you reproduce.

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