Welcoming the Light

Advent Candle Lightings with Year C Psalms
For these Advent candle litanies, the candle lighters —a couple of people or a family—should stand at the Advent wreath, and the psalm reader should stand in another place in the sanctuary. The parts in bold are read by the congregation. One of the lighters reads the regular type; several lighters may read in turn.

First Sunday in Advent

Jesus said, “I am the light of the world.”

We are watching for the light—watching for God’s beacon of dazzling light to shepherd us home. (from Ps. 80:1, The Message)

In the darkest night, our eyes search for glimmers of light.

We are watching for the light—watching for God’s beacon of dazzling light to shepherd us home.

In our darkest night of hopelessness, our spirits long for God’s hope, and we remember the words of the psalmist:

Restore us, O God!
Smile your blessing smile: that will be our salvation.
How long will you smolder in silence while we pray?
You put us on a diet of tears,
bucket after bucket of salty tears to drink.
You make us look ridiculous to our friends;
our enemies poke fun day after day.
Restore us, O God!
Smile your blessing smile: that will be our salvation.
   (adapted from Ps. 80:3-7, The Message)

The candle we light today reminds us of the light we seek. Jesus said, “I am the light of the world.”

We are watching for the light—watching for God’s beacon of dazzling light to shepherd us home.

Second Sunday in Advent

Jesus said, “I am the light of the world.”

We are waiting for the light to grow—waiting for God to restore and forgive us.

In the faintest glimmers of dawning light, we wait for God’s bright glory.

We are waiting for the light to grow—waiting for God to restore and forgive us.

As the light grows in our lives, we remember how God has cared for us, and we remember the words of the psalmist:

I am listening. What is God’s message?
The Lord’s message is peace for God’s people,
for God’s faithful, if only they renounce their folly.
Saving help is near for those who fear God, and glory will dwell in our land.
Faithful Love and Loyalty join together, Saving Justice and Peace embrace.
Loyalty will spring up from the earth, and Justice will lean down from heaven.
The Lord will give prosperity, and our soil will yield its harvest.
Justice will walk before God, treading out a path. (adapted from Ps. 85:8-13)

The candle we light today recalls the light of God’s promised salvation. Jesus said, “I am the light of the world.”

We are waiting for the light to grow—waiting for God to restore and forgive us.

Third Sunday in Advent

Jesus said, “I am the light of the world.”

We have been working to nurture this light, and rejoice to find God working with us.

In the dawn of God’s love, we rejoice in the work God gives us to do.

We have been working to nurture this light, and rejoice to find God working with us.

As we celebrate the growing brightness, we are energized for the tasks before us, and we remember the words of the psalmist:

When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dreamed.
Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy.
Then it was said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.”
The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.
Restore our fortunes, Lord, like streams in the Negev.
Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy.
Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow,
will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them. (Ps. 126)

The candle we light today glows with the joy of our partnership with God. Jesus said, “I am the light of the world.”

We have been working to nurture this light, and rejoice to find God working with us.

Fourth Sunday in Advent

Jesus said, “I am the light of the world.”

We welcome God’s Light into our lives; we welcome the full revelation of God’s unfailing love.

In the warm glow of God’s salvation, we welcome the fullness of God’s promise.

Bathed in God’s light, we can clearly see the faithfulness of our God from age to age, and we remember the words of the psalmist:

You spoke in a vision to your faithful one, and said:
“I have set the crown on one who is mighty,
I have exalted one chosen from the people.
I have found my servant David; with my holy oil I have anointed him.
I will make him the firstborn, the highest of the kings of the earth.
Forever I will keep my steadfast love for him,
and my covenant with him will stand firm.
I will establish his line forever, and his throne as long as the heavens endure.
If his children forsake my law and do not walk according to my ordinances,
then I will punish their transgression,
but I will not remove from him my steadfast love,
or be false to my faithfulness.
I will not lie to David.
His line shall continue forever, and his throne endure before me like the sun.
It shall be established forever like the moon,
an enduring witness in the skies.” (adapted from Ps. 89, selected verses)

The candle we light today shines with God’s welcome, while we welcome God. Jesus said, “I am the light of the world.”

We welcome God’s Light into our lives; we welcome the full revelation of God’s unfailing love.

Christmas Day

Jesus said, “I am the light of the world.”

We wonder at the Light who shines in the darkness;
we wonder at the new light that transforms us. Alleluia!

Christ has come, and God’s Word is present to us in a new way.

We wonder at the Light who shines in the darkness;
we wonder at the new light that transforms us. Alleluia!

We wonder at God’s Light, present since before the beginning, yet ever new, and we remember the words of the psalmist:

O sing to the Lord a new song, for God has done marvelous things.
God’s right hand and holy arm have won the victory.
The Lord has made known this victory;
God has revealed his vindication in the sight of the nations,
and has remembered God’s steadfast love and faithfulness to the house of Israel.
All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God. (adapted from Ps. 98:1-3)

Song: “Joy to the World!” LUYH, CH 270, PH 40, PsH 337, SFL 137, SWM 94, TH 195, WR 179

Today we light the Christ candle, and we wonder at the miracle and mystery of God at work among us. Jesus said, “I am the light of the world.”

We wonder at the Light who shines in the darkness, wonder at the new light that transforms us. Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

James Hart Brumm (JHartBrumm@aol.com) is pastor and teacher of Blooming Grove Reformed Church (RCA) in DeFreestville, New York. He is editor of Liturgy Among the Thorns: Essays on Worship in the Reformed Church in America (Eerdmans, 2008). A new collection of his hymns, Rhythms of Praises, has recently been published by Wayne Leupold Editions.