Advent Candle Lighting Liturgy 2014
Focus: Surprised by Christmas
You can have one, two or three people read the parts, with different readers each Sunday. One of the readers or someone in their family can light the candle(s). Prayer can be in unison with congregation, led by one of the readers or read by a reader ending with a congregational Amen.
Advent One – Surprised by Silence. – Zechariah
In this world of constant noise, silence can be disturbing or terrifying. In silence we can experience an exposed vulnerability with ourselves and God. It is in the silence that God can speak to us – naming and loving us – and offering guidance on the way.
We light this first candle of Advent giving thanks for silence and the wisdom we will find there. We light this candle in honor of Zechariah who can teach us that, beyond our initial fear, silence can take us to a deep place of growth.
Let us pray: God of the Still, Small Voice, help us create and bless silence, the place where we can listen and our hearts can hear what you would have us learn. Give us courage to follow you, even when we are met with skepticism and ridicule. Surprise us again this Advent with your overwhelming love and faithfulness. Amen.
Advent Two – Bewildered, Bothered and Befuddled – Joseph
Dreams can be bewildering messengers. Oft times they grab us around the throat with stories of the unexpected or the impossible leaving us dripping with sweat or filled with puzzlement. Joseph experienced such messengers and was willing to walk into a divine future even with “how can this be?” rattling inside his brain.
We light this candle to remind us that God speaks to us in our dreams. We pray not so much that our dreams will come true, but that we will listen to God’s dreaming our life into a reality of love and compassion.
Let us pray: Holy Mystery, allow us to believe that the impossible or improbable can happen when we are committed to Christ-like love and action. Continue dreaming us into such people and such a community, we pray. Amen.
Advent Three – Startling News – Elizabeth and Mary
Have you ever had someone trust you with painful or potentially difficult, unsettling news? News of a divorce, or sexual orientation or a life threatening illness? What did you do with that sacred trust? Elizabeth embraced Mary with unconditional love.
This candle represents compassionate listening in the midst of turbulent, worrisome times. We pray that we may be beacons of love and light for those desperate for a safe haven. We are grateful for Christ who listened and loved no matter the person’s status or situation.
Let us pray: God of Grace, allow us to see the courage it takes for a person to be vulnerable with us. Give us open hearts, hearts of love that treat such trust with gentle care. We pray grateful that you are always listening, ever ready to hear our joys and our struggles. Amen.
Advent Four – Unexpected Guests – The Innkeeper
The innkeeper had no warning of special company when the bedraggled Mary and Joseph, on the brink of parenthood, came knocking. He had no time to prepare hospitality – no time to bake a cake, reserve a room or set his house in order. He had the option of offering them the second best space available or turning them away. He offered the second best place, the stable.
We light this candle celebrating raw, impulsive, heartfelt hospitality. We give thanks for those who stay ready to receive unexpected guests and for those whose hearts are open whether their home is ready or not. We light this candle asking the Holy One to birth such hospitality in each of us.
Let us pray: God of Extravagant Hospitality, we are moved and grateful for kindness and warmth extended to us. May we offer such grace and welcome to others. Help us see the weary traveler, the grieving heart, the one in need of a friend and the one who is rejoicing. May our hearts and homes be as open as Jesus’ example of caring and compassion. Amen.
Christmas Eve – Awestruck by New Life – Jesus
We are caught off guard by the sight of a newborn baby, a giraffe giving birth, or by green leaves after a brutal winter. Understandably we are awestruck by new life. How fitting that Peace Incarnate came as an infant! What better way to get the busy world’s attention!
Jesus offered second chances and clean slates to those he encountered. We light this candle in honor of Christ who still brings life, even in unexpected ways and places. We light this candle joyous of each expression of new life and rebirth in our world and hopeful for each harbinger of life and resurrection on the horizon.
Let us pray: Holy One, help us bear witness to your story and to bring life, even in bleak situations. Let us shine with your grace and mercy that can transform the world. We pray grateful for baby Jesus and the Christ he became who continually offers each of us fresh manifestations of peace, love, hope and joy. Amen.
©November 24, 2014 Cynthia Langston Kirk
To use this or any liturgy written by Cynthia Langston Kirk please include the copyright and Cynthia’s full name in your bulletin and/or on your screen. If you want to use the writing in any other way than one time worship use, please contact Cynthia at: firstname.lastname@example.org