Waiting for the Light

Advent Candlelighting Readings for Lectionary Year C

The following is a series of readings for the lighting of the Advent wreath candles. The series connects with the assigned Scripture from the Revised Common Lectionary for Year C but would fit most Advent services, especially those that highlight the theme of waiting.

Each reading includes a candlelighter and two readers. These could be the same persons or different people each week. The candlelighter doesn’t speak but does do some motions with the candle in addition to lighting it. The readings conclude with a short prayer that could be spoken by the congregation or another worship leader.

It would be appropriate to sing something similar to the Taizé chant “Wait for the Lord” LUYH 480, GtG 90, SSS 580 each week of Advent before the candle lighting. The simple refrain could easily be taught to children who are not yet readers so they can more fully participate.

Week 1

The Hope Candle

Reading based on Psalm 25:1–10

Candlelighter: [Lifts the unlit hope candle above their head.]

Reader 1: Lord, to you we lift our souls as we eagerly await your coming.

Reader 2: In you, God, we put our trust as we are filled with hope for your arrival.

Candlelighter: [Places the unlit candle in the wreath or stand and covers it with their hands.]

Reader 1: While we wait for you, do not let us be put to shame.

Reader 2: While we wait for you, do not remember the sins of our youth.

Candlelighter: [Extends the unlit candle toward the congregation.]

Reader 1: Lead us in your truth and teach us,

Reader 2: for you are the God of our salvation, and for you we wait all day long.

Candlelighter: [Places the unlit candle back in the wreath or stand and lights it.]

Reader 1: We light the candle of hope this week because we know the Lord’s mercy and steadfast love has been from old. All of the Lord’s works display God’s faithfulness, so we know we have a hope for the future.

Reader 2: We can wait with hopeful expectation because the Lord is good and upright. Surely the Lord will come and lead us in what is right.

People of God: God of Hope,
as we wait for you,
please send your Spirit
to renew our longing for the days
when all will be made right in our relationships
with you, one another, and your creation.
As we wait for those days,
give us eyes to see your faithfulness
and ears to hear of your goodness
so that our hearts may be humbled
and filled with hope for
Christ’s coming kingdom.
In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

Week 2

The Love Candle

Reading based on Malachi 3:1–4

Candlelighter: [Lights the hope candle from the previous week.]

Reader 1: See, God is sending God’s messenger to prepare the way.

Reader 2: The one whom we seek is indeed coming.

Candlelighter: [Picks up the love candle and holds it, unlit, toward the hope candle.]

Reader 1: We wait for the one who refines us.

Reader 2: We wait for the one who purifies us.

Candlelighter: [Extends the unlit candle toward the cross or toward another Christ symbol, such as the communion table.]

Reader 1: The Lord’s purifying fire burns with love for us.

Reader 2: The Lord’s cleansing soap washes us in his love.

Candlelighter: [Places the love candle in the wreath or stand and lights it.]

Reader 1: We light the love candle this week because, as we wait for the Lord’s coming, we remember that Christ has already demonstrated his great love for us so that we can be refined by his righteousness.

Reader 2: When we see the love candle shining, we remember that our waiting is not empty, but must be filled with love for others. For as Christ loves us, so we must love each other.

People of God: God of Love,
may your Spirit spur us to actions of love
during this period of waiting.
As the Son demonstrated
what love requires—
submission, sacrifice, and sanctification—
may we emulate his ways
so that the world may know
of your great love.
In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

Week 3

The Joy Candle

Reading based on Isaiah 12:2–6
[Place the baptismal font near the Advent candles.]

Candlelighter: [Lights the hope and love candles from the previous weeks.]

Reader 1: Surely God is our salvation.

Reader 2: As we wait for the Lord, we will trust and not be afraid.

Candlelighter: [Holds the unlit joy candle over the baptismal font.]

Reader 1: With joy we will draw water from the well of salvation.

Reader 2: Give thanks to the Lord and make known his deeds among the nations!

Candlelighter: [Lifts the unlit joy candle above their head.]

Reader 1: Sing praises to the Lord as we await his glory!

Reader 2: Shout aloud and sing for joy!

Candlelighter: [Places the joy candle in the wreath or stand and lights it.]

Reader 1: With excited anticipation we light the joy candle this week. We have joy because our salvation is at hand. The Holy One of Israel is coming!

Reader 2: His well of salvation is full and plentiful, and we are filled with a joy which will be known throughout all of the earth.

People of God: God of Joy,
may your Spirit renew in us
the joy of our salvation.
Lead us to share this joy
with those around us.
The light of this joy shines in a world
full of darkness,
so that all may see the path
to the deep well of salvation.
So we proclaim the joyous name
of Jesus today!
In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

Week 4

The Peace Candle

Reading based on Micah 5:2–5

Candlelighter: [Lights the hope, love, and joy candles.]

Reader 1: The One who will rule Israel is from of old, from the ancient days.

Reader 2: The One on whom we wait is from the most unexpected place, from Bethlehem of Ephrathah.

Candlelighter: [Hides the unlit peace candle behind his or her back.]

Reader 1: The Shepherd’s mother is in labor.

Reader 2: The whole world cries out with her in labor pains.

Candlelighter: [Extends the unlit peace candle toward the congregation.]

Reader 1: We need the Shepherd to stand and feed his flock.

Reader 2: For the whole world is groaning in need of God’s peace.

Candlelighter: [Places the peace candle in the wreath or stand and lights it.]

Reader 1: We light the peace candle this week because Jesus is the Prince of Peace.

Reader 2: In Jesus we shall live securely as Christ’s peace extends to the ends of the earth.

People of God: God of Peace,
you send us the Prince of Peace.
We long for his peace
to rule in our lives and relationships.
We yearn for every corner of your world
to be subject to your peace.
We eagerly await the days
when your whole flock will live
in the security of your peace.
May we, through the power of your Spirit,
shine the peace of Christ
in the darkness.
In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

Christmas

The Christ Candle

Reading based on Isaiah 9:2–7

Candlelighter: [Lights the hope, love, joy, and peace candles.]

Reader 1: We who have walked in darkness have seen a great light!

Reader 2: We who have lived in a land of deep darkness have had the light of hope, love, joy and peace shined on us!

Candlelighter: [Extends the unlit Christ candle toward the right.]

Reader 1: For the yoke of our burden has been broken!

Reader 2: For the rod of the oppressor has been broken!

Candlelighter: [Extends the unlit Christ candle toward the left.]

Reader 1: For a child has been born to us!

Reader 2: And all authority rests on his shoulders!

Candlelighter: [Lifts the unlit Christ candle over their head.]

Reader 1: We call him Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God!

Reader 2: We call him the Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace!

Candlelighter: [Places the Christ candle in the wreath or candle holder and lights it.]

Reader 1: The Lord establishes his kingdom with justice and righteousness.

Reader 2: For this is the Christ on whom we have waited.

People of God: Mighty God,
you have sent us your Son,
in whom we find our hope,
who teaches us love,
who gives us joy,
and who rules with peace.
In this baby, we have seen the Christ
and his kingdom,
which breaks the oppressive powers
of this world.
May the light of your kingdom
shine from this time onward
and forevermore.
In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

Katy Matejka Kroondyk is a student at Western Theological Seminary. She lives with her husband, Rev. Jeff Kroondyk, and their daughters, LillyAnn and Eliza, in Cadillac, Michigan, where they minister at Cadillac Christian Reformed Church.