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01 Dec

Advent

A Christmas Lament

Article

We are entering the yearly crazy time for church staff and leaders -- you know, that time that comes around every year right after Thanksgiving and lasts through Christmas Eve.

A Christmas Lament »

Imagine No Malaria Advent/Christmas Worship and Study Resources

Website

The Iowa Annual Conference was asked to contribute worship and study resources for Advent and Christmas to the denomination's Imagine No Malaria campaign. You can find these resources arranged in folders here.

Imagine No Malaria Advent/Christmas Worship and Study Resources »

Advent Prayers 2013

Website

by Beth A. Richardson
Join us as we travel through Advent, the season during which we prepare our hearts for Christmas. Pray these prayers on your own or with your faith community beginning the first Sunday of Advent, December 1.

Advent Prayers 2013 »

2013 Advent Candle Lighting Liturgy (Kropinak)

Liturgy

 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)  reflects the hope we celebrate today.

2013 Advent Candle Lighting Liturgy (Kropinak) »

Advent Wreath Meditations 2013

Liturgy

Here are seven sets of meditations that may be used with the weekly lighting of candles of an Advent wreath on the four Sundays of Advent and Christmas Eve. The meditations may be freely adapted for use in worship, Sunday school or for use in the home.

Advent Wreath Meditations 2013 »

Advent Wreath Liturgies (2013) Year A

Liturgy

Keep awake! Be watchful!
The Son of Man is coming with great power and glory.

Advent Wreath Liturgies (2013) Year A »

Advent Wreath Meditations - 2013 (Garland)

Liturgy

This set of brief meditations with Scriptures, reflections, and liturgies may be used in lighting the candles of the Advent wreath in worship at church or home. Each meditation uses one of the readings from the Revised Common Lectionary for the day. The readings are divided into sections that can be assigned to various persons participating, including the children. A candle lighting liturgy is also provided. Suggested hymns from both The United Methodist Hymnal and The Faith We Sing are provided, as an option, to conclude each meditation. A hymn written by the author for each day is also provided.

Advent Wreath Meditations - 2013 (Garland) »

Advent Candlelighting Liturgy for 2013 (Wake)

Article

"The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness – on them light 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, Prince of Peace" (Isaiah 9:2, 6, NRSV).

Advent Candlelighting Liturgy for 2013 (Wake) »

Advent Year A: How Do We Get to Zion?

Article

By faith, we confess that Christ has come. By faith, we testify to the things that he did during his brief sojourn with humankind. Most of us accept and believe in the birth, the life, and even the atoning death of Christ without having to make a major leap of faith. Do we, however, have the same measure of faith that Christ will come again? 

Advent Year A: How Do We Get to Zion? »

ReThink Christmas Season for 2013/2014

Article

We've all seen and lived the pattern. Christmas Eve services are a huge celebration, bringing in folks we may rarely see at any other time of the year. On Christmas Day, we may be lucky to fill the choir area.

ReThink Christmas Season for 2013/2014 »

Celebrate Advent and Christmas Season Fully in 2013/2014!

Article

We all know there is much competition for attention between Advent and Christmas Season (Advent 1 through Epiphany, January 6), and the wider culture's "Christmastime" (November through December 25). The result of this competition? Culture wins, and the primary focus of Advent on the second coming of Christ as fulfillment of all promised in his first coming, which we celebrate during Christmas Season, is lost.

Celebrate Advent and Christmas Season Fully in 2013/2014! »

Worship Planning for Advent 2013 (Year A)

Article

Advent marks the beginning of the new Christian year in Western churches. In 2013, Advent begins December 1. Purple and blue as signs of royalty are the most common colors for the season. Pink, a sign of joy, is often used on the Third Sunday of Advent, a day especially given to rejoicing.

Worship Planning for Advent 2013 (Year A) »

A Litany for Longest Night (December 21)

Liturgy

Comfort, O comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to herthat she has served her term, that her penalty is paid,that she has received from the Lord's hand double for all her sins.  

A Litany for Longest Night (December 21) »

Advent Worship Litanies

Liturgy

During Advent we are invited to open ourselves to God's seeking, active Spirit. Like Mary, we can ponder what God says to us in scripture. The busyness of the world is stilled; we pay attention, trust in God's promises, and wait together in joyful anticipation. Enrich your Advent worship with an Advent wreath — four purple candles (or three purple and one pink candle) placed around a wreath with a white Christ candle in the center of the circle.  

Advent Worship Litanies »

A Different Kind of Christmas

Website

Every year, we say we’re going to cut back, simplify, and have a family Christmas that focuses on the real reason for the season – Jesus. But every year… 

A Different Kind of Christmas »

Advent Rituals for Church and Home

Article

When we think of rituals and traditions, we often think of them in relation to older people in our congregations. However, children and youth are lovers of rituals and traditions 

Advent Rituals for Church and Home »

A Modest Proposal for Advent/Christmas Peace

Article

We all know how it goes. The pastor or the musicians want to celebrate a full Advent and hold off all Christmas music until Christmas Eve. Or the pastor and the musicians disagree on this: one wanting Advent only; the other wanting at least a mixture. The congregation wants to start singing Christmas hymns as soon as possible because, in our culture, no matter what the liturgical calendar says, we all know that we would get only one or two Sundays to sing these favorites; and that's not enough. 

A Modest Proposal for Advent/Christmas Peace »

Advent Wreath and Crèche Readings: Advent 2

Liturgy

The second Advent candle is the candle of peace — the peace we seek in our hearts as we await the coming of Christ and peace on earth as announced by the angels. 

Advent Wreath and Crèche Readings: Advent 2 »

All About Advent

Article

The season of Advent has been with us since the fourth century, although it has not been a part of the liturgical observance of all denominations and churches. With the mixing of Christmas and Advent during the weeks leading up to Christmas Day, there is often confusion of the two. 

All About Advent »

Advent Worship Planning

Article

Although January 1 marks the beginning of the calendar year and fall marks the beginning of the church programming year, Advent marks the beginning of the Christian year. 

Advent Worship Planning »

A Confession for Advent

Liturgy

Great God of Presence and Promised Coming,
We confess that we have not loved you with our whole heart. 

A Confession for Advent »

Advent Prayer Service

Liturgy

The following Advent Prayer Service was submitted by Debi Tyree. It uses several songs from The Faith We Sing. You may use or adapt it to your own needs. Debi says, "This service was announced (no printed bulletin) and led by several volunteers from the Music Unit of The United Methodist Publishing House for one of the daily Advent prayer services. It could be used during a short devotion or prayer time or at the close of a meeting or a choir rehearsal. It lasts approximately fifteen to twenty minutes."  

Advent Prayer Service »

Advent Candlelighting Liturgy

Liturgy

"The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness -- on them light 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, Prince of Peace." (Isaiah 9:2, 6) 

Advent Candlelighting Liturgy »

Advent Wreath and Crèche Readings

Liturgy

Preston Price, pastor at Anaheim United Methodist Church in California, offers this interesting variation on the Advent wreath candle lighting meditations. Each week involves two families, one for reading the meditations, and one for "building" the crèche. 

Advent Wreath and Crèche Readings »

Advent: Finding the Balance Between the Sacred and Secular

Article

As you plan for Advent, remember to keep the balance between the liturgical need to prepare for the coming of Christ (both as an infant and in his final reign) and the needs of the people in the pews. 

Advent: Finding the Balance Between the Sacred and Secular »

Advent Wreath and Crèche Readings: Advent 1

Liturgy

The first Advent candle is the candle of hope. We remember the hopeful longing of people waiting for a savior. And we acknowledge our own hope that we, too, might be filled with the light of Christ.   

Advent Wreath and Crèche Readings: Advent 1 »

Advent Wreath and Crèche Readings: Advent 3

Liturgy

The third Advent candle is the candle of joy — the joy of Mary in bearing God's Son, the joy of God in the giving of God's own self, the joy in our hearts as we receive the gift once more. 

Advent Wreath and Crèche Readings: Advent 3 »

Advent Reflections:  From Despair to Hope

Article

The verses of "O Come, O Come Emmanuel" remind us that Advent is a journey from whatever despair has seized the human spirit to an active hope in the Second Coming of Christ.   

Advent Reflections:  From Despair to Hope »

Blue Christmas/Longest Night Worship With Those Who Mourn

Article

Not everyone is up and cheery for the Christmas holidays. Dealing with the death of a loved one, facing life after divorce or separation, coping with the loss of a job, living with cancer, and a number of other human situations make parties and joviality painful for many people in our congregations and communities. There is a growing attentiveness to the needs of people who are blue at Christmas. Increasing numbers of churches are creating sacred space for people living through dark times.  

Blue Christmas/Longest Night Worship With Those Who Mourn »

Blue Christmas

Article

In the midst of all the wonder, joy, and celebration of Christmas, with its carols, parties, decorating, baking, gift giving, and family time, it's easy for us to forget that in our own churches, Sunday school classes, and choirs there is likely to be someone for whom the idea of Christmas joy is not part of the season this year. Events take place at this time of the year that simply make celebration impossible — illness, sudden death of a loved one, or the burden of caring for a loved one, the loss of a job, oppressive financial difficulties, strained family relations, divorce or separation. For some people, Christmas may simply bring up memories of a difficult and troubled past. Perhaps a spouse, child, or parent has been taken away to fight a war. And for some, they have been confronted with their own mortality, having been told that this may be their own last Christmas. 

Blue Christmas »

Child of the Light: Walking Through Advent and Christmas

Book

If the Christmas season has become more of a chaotic consumer ritual rather than a nurturing spiritual one, you need this brilliant "Advent Survival Guide!" If you set aside just 10 minutes per day, Child of the Light will help you find your quiet center amid the stressful flurry of the November/December busyness.   

Child of the Light: Walking Through Advent and Christmas »

Christmas Before and After: Celebrating the Journey

Article

This article encourages us to celebrate the journey from Advent to Christmas and beyond by considering a variety of options in the church and home. 

Christmas Before and After: Celebrating the Journey »

Faith to Say Yes!

Liturgy

A Drama for the Fourth Sunday of Advent  

Faith to Say Yes! »

Hanging of the Greens Service

Article

The Hanging of the Greens service provided here is an alternative to "Hanging of the Greens" in The United Methodist Book of Worship, 258-260. Planners may want to incorporate parts of that service into this one, depending on the context and the elements of "greening" intended. In a time when people are crying out for liturgy as symbols deeply lived, this can be a multisensory communal event.  

Hanging of the Greens Service »

Hark! the Herald Angels Sing (Original)

Article

Hark! the Herald Angels Sing, is sung enthusiastically and often at Christmas. Here is some background information on the beloved carol.  

Hark! the Herald Angels Sing (Original) »

Meeting the Messiah

Book

Journey through this Advent season with a purposeful focus on the Christ child. Meeting the Messiah encourages you to slow down and pay attention to the real meaning of this holy season. 

Meeting the Messiah »

Mary The Favored One

Liturgy

An Angel said to Mary, "You've found favor with God." 

Mary The Favored One »

Midrash: The Last Laugh

Liturgy

Midrash, in Judaism, is a commentary on the ancient Hebrew text by the rabbis.  They were known to supply missing information (often based upon their own speculation) in order to give their students a clearer understanding of the text and its principles.  The Rev. Sherrie Dobbs Johnson has used the principles of Midrash to help us imagine the challenges of Mary's pregnancy and the birth of Jesus in the stable from Mary's perspective. 

Midrash: The Last Laugh »

Prayers for the Fourth Sunday of Advent

Liturgy

Precious Savior, breathlessly we wait for your Coming.
The house has been made ready.
The tree is trimmed with beautiful lights and sentimental ornaments.  

Prayers for the Fourth Sunday of Advent »

Preaching in Advent: What Do We Do in the In-Between Time?

Article

As December approaches, our thoughts and hearts turn toward Christmas. Children count down the days, and the social calendars of adults are filled. It's a tough time. Children face the challenge of keeping their minds on school while songs of the season fill the air. Adults have the same difficulty. It is hard for us to live in the present while keeping an eye on the future. When we get too focused on one, we tend to lose sight of the other. 

Preaching in Advent: What Do We Do in the In-Between Time? »

Prayer of Confession

Liturgy

Lord we confess that we suffer today because of sin, both the sins we have chosen and the sins committed against us. 

Prayer of Confession »

Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord

Article

For the First Sunday of AdventBased on Isaiah 64: 1-9  

Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord »

“Star Child”

Article

We often wonder where are the new Christmas songs that may someday take their place in the repertoire along with "Silent Night" and "Joy to the World." "Star-Child" is one of those. Sing it during Advent. Sing it at Christmas. Teach it to children's choirs and Sunday School classes. 

“Star Child” »

Resources For Church Musicians #10

Article

A special issue for Advent and Christmas planning. 

Resources For Church Musicians #10 »

Road Construction

Article

For the 2nd Sunday of Advent Year BBased on Isaiah 40: 3-4, Mark 1: 1-3  

Road Construction »

Silence and Other Surprising Invitations of Advent

Book

by Enuma Okoro
Usually when we think of the Advent story, Mary, Joseph, and the angel Gabriel come to mind. Enuma Okoro approaches Advent a little differently, inviting us to sit for a while with Zechariah and Elizabeth and the story of how they came to bear their only son, John. 

Silence and Other Surprising Invitations of Advent »

Singing Advent Versus Singing Christmas

Article

It's almost here -- the annual controversy over whether or not we should sing Christmas songs during Advent. For some congregations, it's not an issue. 

Singing Advent Versus Singing Christmas »

Singing Mary’s Song: An Advent Message of Hope and Deliverance

Book

by John A. Stroman
Mary's song, recorded in Luke 1:46-55, was not a sweet lullaby sung in anticipation of the baby Jesus’ birth, Stroman says. Instead, it was a message of deliverance and hope. Mary’s song proclaimed deliverance and hope to a dark and fearful world. It continues to bring challenge and hope to us today.  

Singing Mary’s Song: An Advent Message of Hope and Deliverance »

The Second Coming of Christ —A New Beginning

Liturgy

Isaiah said, "God is sending a messenger to prepare the way."Prepare the way of the Lord.  

The Second Coming of Christ —A New Beginning »

The Advent Wreath Revisited

Article

The Advent Wreath has become a standard part of many congregations' observances on the Sundays of Advent. The wreaths range from simple styrofoam circles with candles and spruce or holly inserted around the circumference to large and handsome brass stands with tall, thick candles. Congregations mark the four Sundays of Advent with special acts of candle lighting that involve families and members of the congregation. 

The Advent Wreath Revisited »

The Song of Zechariah

Liturgy

This translation "transfers the persons" (second and third) of the original Greek to help make clear in English that the entire canticle is addressed to God. 

The Song of Zechariah »

Understanding Advent

Article

Advent comes from the Latin word, adventus, meaning "coming." It is a season to prepare for the coming of Christ in various meanings: the promised coming of the Messiah to the Jews, the coming of Jesus being born in Bethlehem, the promised return of the risen Christ in final victory, and the continual coming of Christ into the lives and hearts of believers.  

Understanding Advent »

What to Do About Advent

Article

The church year was developed centuries ago as a teaching tool. From four Sundays before Christmas to the celebration of the ascension of Jesus, it tells the story of the Christian faith. Advent is the story of the sinful world yearning for a savior.  

What to Do About Advent »

Where Did the Season of Advent Come From?

Article

"When I was a young person we never observed Advent," said Marion, a member of the older adult class at Belmont United Methodist. "We sang Christmas carols for a few Sundays before Christmas, and the pastor preached about the birth of Jesus on the Sunday before Christmas; and that was it. Now it seems like the church is really into this Advent thing and we seem to reserve Christmas carols until just before Christmas." 

Where Did the Season of Advent Come From? »

Chuck Knows the Advent Wreath

Video

Four candles in a circle with a big one in the middle? Yep, take a moment and learn the basics about the advent wreath. And why is the pink candle...pink? GBOD's humorous philosopher, knower of church things and star of Chuck Knows Church explains it all.

Chuck Knows the Advent Wreath »