Second Sunday of Advent 2018, Year C — Planning Notes


Prepare the Way Worship Series: REFINE
Second Sunday of Advent — December 9, 2018


Calendar Notes

December 21    Longest Night/Blue Christmas
December 24    Christmas Eve (evening)
December 25    Christmas Day
December 26    Kwanzaa
December 31    Watch Night/New Year’s Eve

January 1     New Year’s Eve / Holy Name of Jesus
January 6     Epiphany Sunday/Epiphany
January 13   Baptism of the Lord
January 11   Human Trafficking Awareness Day
January 20   Human Relations Day
January 21   Martin Luther King Jr. Day
January 18-25 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
January 20   Ecumenical Sunday

All Month       Black History Month
February 10   Scouting Ministries Sunday
February 18   Presidents Day (USA)

March 1        World Day of Prayer
March 3        Transfiguration of the Lord
March 6        Ash Wednesday, and Lent Begins
March 31      UMCOR Sunday


This is the second Sunday of Advent. This week, our readings are on John the Baptist’s ministry and from the prophet Malachi. Today, the Song of Zechariah is the response to the reading from Malachi, and it also serves as a kind of introduction to the ministry of John the Baptist in the gospel. Strongly consider singing it, as countless generations of Christians have done and still do. Several versions are available in The United Methodist Hymnal (208, 209), Mil Voces para Celebrar (78), and the Upper Room Worshipbook (10-12). The word this week is Refine. This word is pulled from the Malachi text, and it reflects on John the Baptist’s words of the one who is coming who will refine us as with fire.

For the series “Prepare the Way,” we decided to use two of the lectionary texts for every week except the Sunday after Christmas. We were called to the traditional Luke texts that present Advent and the Christmas story in a familiar way. We were also called to the prophets of the Old Testament and how their words and stories connected with story of the coming of Christ. We hope that in your church, you will use  both sets of texts to illuminate your Advent season.

This year, Advent begins with the roaring of the seas and ends with words of hope and blessing. Consider having different voices read the two Scripture passages in worship — from different places in the congregation. Perhaps the gospel is read traditionally from the lectern, but the prophets speak from the back. Or the prophet may be pre-recorded. Keep the tension of the words from the gospel and the Old Testament in mind as you choose music, art, and ritual for the season.