For Your Planning Team
The Christian church’s liturgical calendar begins with the season of Advent. Faith communities intentionally adorn their worship spaces with a Hanging of the Greens ceremony, a precursor to Christmastide. The ceremony is held directly before the first Sunday of Advent, and it emphasizes symbols of everlasting life (circular evergreen wreath), the light of Christ (Advent candles), Chrismon symbols hung on the evergreen tree that “direct our attention to the nature and ultimate work of Christ and primary Advent themes.” These symbols can include the crow, descending dove, fish, Celtic cross, Jerusalem cross, shepherd's crook, orb, crown, fish, star, anchor, chalice, shell—all made in the colors of white and gold (purity/perfection, majesty/glory), and clear lights. The Hanging of the Greens ceremony also creates a sacred space that builds or strengthens an ethos of koinonia, a community intentionally setting forth on a divine journey with God and with one another.
Advent Candle Lighting Liturgy 2019
Reader One: We light this candle. It seems a simple thing, lighting a candle, a quiet thing that I do alone, to provide something bright in the midst of all my darkness. But it doesn’t make that much difference. It doesn’t change the power of the night to bring doubt and fear and separation. It doesn’t make the world a better place, lighting a candle. Does it?
Reader Two: We light these candles. Because we have seen a light and we believe increasing that light does make a difference in the world around us. We light these candles because we want to be people of the light, who know a God who loved the world so much, this God chose to be born in a manger in the midst of the darkness. We light these candles as a sign of the light of the world that is coming into our darkness, and we sing with joy.
Reader One: We light the candles of Peace, Hope, Joy and Trust as our circle is complete. And we light the light of Love as the sign of Christ’s presence among us, no matter how dark it may seem.
(Light all four candles on the wreath and light the Christ candle in the center)
Reader Two: The people who have walked in darkness have seen a great light. Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth let there be Love.
Congregation: Come, O Come, Emmanuel.
Advent Worship Liturgies (Upper Room 2019)
Speak: “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” (Isa. 9:6).
Light the Christ candle. Let us see the One who was born to change the world!
Read: Isaiah 9:2-7 and Luke 2:1-20
Reflect: Where in your community do you see signs that Christ is changing the world? Where would you like to see more signs of change?
Engage: What will you do today to share God with others?
Pray: Gracious God, we seek you everywhere with expectant eyes that invite us to see all the people that you are calling us to love today. We praise you, O God, for the King of Kings! Amen.