Home Worship Planning Seasons & Holidays Advent Candle Lighting Liturgy 2020

Advent Candle Lighting Liturgy 2020

By Derek Weber

Advent candle light 2020 72px

Here is a Candle-lighting liturgy for the Advent wreath that ties into our worship series, “Company’s Coming.” You may, of course, adapt this liturgy to fit your setting, rewrite portions—particularly the first “reader one” statement—to speak to specific concerns in your community. You may also adapt it to one reader or to more readers, as is the custom of your congregation. You could also let the whole congregation respond with the closing refrain, “O Come, O Come Emmanuel,” or even sing the refrain (or one verse a week) instead of speaking those words. Make it yours!

Week 1: November 29, 2020

This Place Is a Mess!

Isaiah 64:1-9 & Mark 13:24-37

Reader One: If ever there was a year we needed Advent, this is the year. We hardly know how to describe the year we have lived through. We hesitate to reflect on all the mess around us in 2020. All we know is that nothing seems right, nothing seems like it used to be, nothing. We need Advent!

Reader Two: The prophet Isaiah cried out for us, “O that you would tear open the heavens and come down … To make your name known … so that nations might tremble at your presence.” So tear through the mess, O Lord, and come down to us again. We long to be your people, a people of hope.

Reader One: We light this first candle as a sign of our hope. Hope that you can meet us, even in the mess of our world. Hope that you still see us, though we feel we are lost in the rubble. Let this light be the guide that brings us to Emmanuel once more.

Reader Two: O Come, O Come Emmanuel.

Week 2: December 6, 2020

Clean-Up Crew

Isaiah 40:1-11 & Mark 1:1-8

Reader One: Our lists are long, even in this strange mess where we live these days. And we want to do it right, we want to be safe, but we want to be able to enjoy the season. We’ve got work to do to put right what has gone wrong, to heal what is broken, to mend the relationships, and to prepare for the company that will come.

Reader Two: The prophet Isaiah reminded us that there is work to be done. “Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” When God comes in, then healing is to be found, but we need to make the way; we need to open the door into our lives.

Reader One: So, we light these candles as a sign of our faith that the God we worship is not far from us and that we can clear the way for that God to come and dwell with us. We light these candles in faith that company is coming.

Reader Two: O Come, O Come Emmanuel.

Week 3: December 13, 2020

Deck the Halls

Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11 & John 1:6-8, 19-28

Reader One: We want everything to look nice: the decorations of the season, our homes with their lights and tinsel, wreaths and ribbons. We want to lighten the darkness around us, bring beauty to the ugliness that wears us down. We decorate, because it is tradition. Because it lifts our hearts. Because it makes us feel like children again. We deck our halls because company is coming.

Reader Two: The prophet Isaiah smiled when he said, “God will give a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, a mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit.” No matter how far we feel from the spirit of the season, God promises to decorate us with love and with joy.

Reader One: We light these candles as a sign of our joy in the beautiful things of this season – not just the things that glitter and flash, but the deeper things, the beauty of the heart and the soul, the beauty of love shared in service and hospitality. We light this candle of joy because company is coming.

Reader Two: O Come, O Come Emmanuel.

Week 4: December 20, 2020

Waiting on the Threshold

2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16 & Luke 1:26-38

Reader One: We live on the brink every day. We stand on the threshold between this world and the next one. We live and move between the ordinary and divine, between the mundane and the mystery. Too often, we forget to look up and see the angels in our living room. We forget that the love we give and live is a sign of eternity, God with us, right now. We forget that company is coming.

Reader Two: Luke tells us that God’s favor came to a girl, an ordinary girl. It might have been you or your daughter; it might have been the girl down the street or your grandchild. But the messenger of God came and greeted her and said, “The Lord is with you.” What a gift and a promise: Emmanuel, God is with us.

Reader One: We light these candles with peace in our hearts for the promise of proximity, the nearness of God. Even when we forget to listen, to lean into that presence, God is as close as our own breath. This, in a confused and confusing world, is a peace that passes all understanding. It is the peace that knows that company is coming.

Reader Two: O Come, O Come Emmanuel.

Christmas Eve: December 24, 2020

Welcoming the Guest

Our Christmas Affirmation

Advent hope moves us; Advent love leads us; Advent joy stirs us; Advent peace stills us, that we might affirm our King Jesus.

It is time we set flame to this Advent affirmation by lighting the Christ Candle.

We believe that Jesus is the Son of God. He was born of the Virgin Mary in Bethlehem of Judea. He was the long-awaited Messiah whose coming was prophesied. The same Jesus lives today in our hearts. He deserves our highest loyalty and total commitment. In Jesus Christ our hope is fulfilled; our love is consummated; our joy is complete; and our peace is sealed.

Rejoice, a Savior is born.

A savior is born, indeed. Joy to the world!

Rev. Dr. Derek Weber, Director of Preaching Ministries, served churches in Indiana and Arkansas and the British Methodist Church. His PhD is from University of Edinburgh in preaching and media. He has taught preaching in seminary and conference settings for more than 20 years.

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