Advent

Advent is a time of waiting, but it can also be a very meaningful time of confession. These four litanies for confession and assurance are designed for consecutive use during the four Sundays in Advent.

First Sunday in Advent

Song: “O Come, O Come, Immanuel” (st. 1-2, sung by choir) LUYH, CH 245, PH 9, PsH 328, SFL 123, SWM 81, TH 194, WR 154

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.”

Somewhere inside the busyness of the “real world” there’s “rest,” but it can be hard to find. Although we look for it in various places, it is often elusive or fleeting, at best. Today, I want to introduce you to a man who was forced to learn the hard way to find rest. Zechariah was a priest. You can find the word “rest” inside the word “priest,” but Zechariah had a hard time finding it. His story helps me, and I hope it helps you too. This is the story of Zechariah.

The following theme, objective, and structure outline is reminiscent of the lesson plans teachers prepare for their classes. As worship planners it would be a great discipline to use similar categories for our planning.

—JB

While even young children can know the facts of the Christmas story it is another thing altogether to comprehend it.  This series helps all of us explore the reality of Christ’s birth a little further, to see a rough manger, not a soft bed, the king’s crown next to the crown of thorns, to begin to grasp the glory and the peace that he brings.
 

Week 1: Jesus, Our Good News

Colossians 1:1-8, 28-29

Lighting of Advent Candle

Skeletons in the Closet

A Readers' Theater about Christ's Family Tree

Note: The readers’ parts should be adapted to fit the “voice” and experience of the readers as well as the context in which this script is used.

[Violin plays through “O Come, O Come, Immanuel” CH 245, PH 9, PsH 328, SFL 123, SWM 81, TH 194, WR 154 one time.]

Reader 1: When I was a child, I had no patience for family reunions or for the drawn-out discussions about family genealogy that occurred over Sunday morning coffee at my grandfather’s house.

With Heart and Voice

A Dramatic Reading of Mary's Song

This dramatic reading was written to show how the announcement of a coming Savior fit snugly into the history and expectations of God’s

people, how the Lord Almighty is a God of justice who watches over the needy, and how this God will be manifest in Jesus.

Afew years ago, we designed a worship service for the first Sunday of Advent to introduce and explain the general themes of the season, including the lighting of Advent candles. In past years, the latter had received cursory attention, consisting of a short Bible reading followed by the lighting of the corresponding candle. I saw value in giving the Advent candle themes more attention, perhaps by “illuminating” their meanings (hope, love, joy, peace) visually. We decided to create a banner for each Advent candle.

Lately I’ve been struck by the frantic pace of life. Some folks are complaining about being overloaded; most simply look tired. Meanwhile, I feel increasingly compelled to help people rest in God’s presence.