Advent Booklet

(scroll through to read through all four weeks)

First Week of Advent:  Hope

ADVENT  WREATH LITURGY–Candle of Hope

First Reader:  This is the first Sunday in Advent.  Today, we light one purple candle.  This is the candle of hope.  Advent is a time of waiting and hoping.  We wait for the day we celebrate again the birth of Jesus.  We hope that everyone will come to know and to worship God.

Light the first purple candle.

Second Reader:  When we look at the first candle, we remember God’s promise.  God promised to send a Messiah to the people.  When we listen to our scripture reading, we hear what the Prophet Isaiah wrote about God.  God is the Potter who molds us.  We know that the gospel witness is one that helps us understand that God is loving and just.  God brings peace.  This gives us hope.  We anticipate again the birth of baby Jesus, remembering that Jesus helps us know God’s love for us.

Third Reader:  Isaiah 64:8–“Yet, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand.”

All:  Dear God, thank you for your son, Jesus.  Thank you for the words of the Prophet Isaiah that remind us that you are the source of our hope.  Help us to live each day, allowing you to form us in a way that brings about your kin-dom here on earth.  Amen.

Reflections for December 4-9–HOPE

Monday, December 4, 2017:  Today, read again Isaiah 64:8 (above).  Memorize this verse.  How do you think this verse gives hope to people?

Tuesday, December 5, 2017:  Is there someone you know who needs to hear words of hope?  Make or select a card for that person and mail it today.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017:  Hope is something we need in our world.  Today, pray for the President of the United States and members of Congress.  Pray for their leadership for our country and for the world.

Thursday, December 7, 2017:  As we get ready to celebrate again the birth of Jesus, we sometimes get very busy.  Take a ten-minute break.  Sit quietly.  If it helps you to concentrate, look at your Advent wreath.  Pray, asking for God’s help to bring quiet and calm to a busy world.

Friday, December 8, 2017:  Think about your family.  Some may live with you.  Others may be far away.  Who, in your family, needs God’s hope?  Pray for this family member today.

Saturday, December 9, 2017:  There are people in our neighborhoods, in our church, and in our community who need to know of God’s hope.  Select someone to visit today.  Visit by phone or in person.  Go as a family or by yourself.  It doesn’t necessarily have to be a visit to a home.  Maybe there is someone you always see at the library.  Stop by today and talk with that person.  Tell the person you visit one way that he or she helps you feel hopeful.

 

Second Week of Advent:  Love

ADVENT WREATH LITURGY–Candle of Love

First Reader:  This is the second Sunday in Advent.  Today, we light two purple candles.  Last Sunday, we lit the candle of hope.  This Sunday, we light the candle of love.  One verse that many memorize and remember on this day is John 3:16, “God so loved the world…”  Some people may not know the love of other people.  That makes it harder for them to understand God’s love.  During Advent, we pray that we may remember again God’s gift of Jesus to the world and know that God’s love for all people is the reason for this gift.

Light the first and second purple candle.

Second Reader:  When we look at the second candle, we remember God’s love.  When we read words of scripture, we know of God’s greatness and care.  We remember God’s love at Advent when we remember that God sent Jesus to us to help us know that God is loving and just.

Third Reader:  Isaiah 40:1-8–“Comfort, O comfort my people, says your God.  Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that she has served her term, that her penalty is paid, that she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.  A voice cries out: ‘In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.  Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. Then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all people shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.’  A voice says, ‘Cry out!’  And I said, ‘What shall I cry?’  All people are grass, their constancy is like the flower of the field.  The grass withers, the flower fades, when the breath of the Lord blows upon it; surely the people are grass.  The grass withers, the flower fades; but the word of our God will stand for ever.”

All:  Thank you for your son, Jesus.  Thank you for the stories that are found in the Bible that help us remember your love and care.  Help us to see how we can bring your message of love to the people we meet in our schools, at our jobs, and in our neighborhoods.  Help us be messengers of your love for everyone.  Amen.

Reflections for December 11-16–LOVE

Monday, December 11–Read again Isaiah 40:1-8 (above).  Create a picture that shows God’s comforting love.  Include words or prayers that help you remember God’s Love.  Give Thanks for the World and all the people in the world.

Tuesday, December 12–Is there someone you know who needs to hear words of God’s love?  Make or select a card for that person and mail it today.

Wednesday, December 13–Love is something we need in our church.  Think about the people in our church.  Select one person in our church.  Pray for that person today.

Thursday, December 14–As we get ready to celebrate again the birth of Jesus, we sometimes get very busy.  Today take a ten-minute break.  Sit quietly.  If it helps you to concentrate, look at your Advent wreath.  Pray, asking God’s help to bring quiet and calm to a busy world.

Friday, December 15–Think about your family.  Some may live with you.  Others may be far away.  Who in your family needs God’s love?  Pray for this family member today.

Saturday, December 16–There are people in our neighborhoods, in our church, and in our community who need to know of God’s love.  Select someone to visit today.  Visit by phone or in person.  Go as a family or by yourself.  It doesn’t necessarily have to be a visit to a home.  Maybe there is someone who waits on you at the grocery store.  Stop by today and talk with that person.  Tell the person you visit how you are reminded of God’s love because of what that person has said or done.

 

Third Week of Advent:  Joy

ADVENT WREATH LITURGY–Candle of Joy

First Reader: This is the third Sunday in Advent.  Today we light two purple candles and the pink candle.  The first Sunday, we lit the candle of hope.  The second Sunday, we lit the candle of love.  Today, we light the candle of joy.  One thing that sometimes happens as we get ready to celebrate Jesus’ birth is we expect to be happy all the time.  Joy is not the same as happy.  Joy is a deeper feeling created by knowing that God loves and cares for us.  Joy is remembering that God sent Jesus so we would always know of God’s care.  During Advent, we pray that we may remember again God’s gift of Jesus to the world and know the joy that gift brings to all people.

Light the first and second purple candles and then the pink candle.

Second Reader:  When we look at the third candle, we remember God’s promise of joy.  God promised to send a Messiah to the people.  Today, we read from the Gospel of John.  In the scripture, we hear that John was sent by God not to be the light, but to testify to the light.  This reminds us that Jesus brings light to the world.  And where there is light, there is joy and peace and assurance.  When the world seems dark, scary, and frightening, we are reminded that Jesus brings light and that brings joy.

Third Reader:  John 1:6-8: “There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light.”

All:  Dear God, thank you for your son, Jesus.  Thank you for the joy remembering Jesus’ birth brings us today.  Help us live in such a way that our words and our actions help others know of the joy you give. Amen.

Reflections for December 18-23–JOY

Monday, December 18–Read again John 1:6-8 (above).  Make a list together of the things that bring light to our lives and make us joyful.  Paint or draw a picture of something that makes you joyful.

Tuesday, December 19–Is there someone you know who needs to hear words of joy?  Make or select a card for that person and mail it today.

Wednesday, December 20–Joy is something we need in our city.  Think about different leaders of our city.  Select one leader of our city and pray for that leader today.

Thursday, December 21–As we get ready to celebrate again the birth of Jesus, we sometimes get very busy.  Today take a 10-minute break.  Sit quietly.  If it helps you to concentrate, look at your Advent wreath.  Pray, asking God’s help to bring quiet and calm to a busy world.

Friday, December 22–Think about your family.  Some may live with you.  Others may be far away.  Who in your family needs God’s joy?  Pray for this family member today.

Saturday, December 23–There are people in our neighborhoods, in our church, and in our community who need to know of God’s joy.  Select someone to visit today.  Visit by phone or in person.  Go as a family or by yourself.  It doesn’t necessarily have to be a visit to a home.  Maybe there is someone you see in a place where you go to eat.  Stop by today and talk with that person.  Tell the person you visit one way he or she helps you experience joy.

 

Fourth Week of Advent:  Peace

ADVENT WREATH LITURGY–Candle of Peace

Fourth Sunday of Advent and Christmas Eve, December 24–Morning service at 10:00 and Evening service at 7:30

Light the four candles on your wreath and read together the following meditation

First Reader:  This is the fourth Sunday in Advent and Christmas Eve.  The first three Sundays of Advent we lit the candles of hope, love, and joy.  Today, we light the candle of peace.  Our world is not always a peaceful world.  Countries are at war today.  People don’t take care of the world or each other.  But God promises peace.  During Advent, we pray that we, as well as all people, will seek God’s peace.

Second Reader: When we look at the fourth candle, we remember God’s promise of peace.  We recall the words of Jesus in John 14:27–“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.”  In times of war and hatred, it’s hard to remember that Jesus is the one who brings peace.  As we approach Christmas, let’s remember that God’s intention is a world of peace where people work together instead of harm one another.

First Reader:  Luke 1:47-55:  ” …and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour, for he has looked with favour on the lowliness of his servant.  Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants for ever.’”

Second Reader:  In the scripture, we hear Mary’s song of praise.  She may not have felt very peaceful as she considered her future.  Yet her words help us see the peace that comes when we trust in God.

Discussion:  Can you imagine Mary singing the words written in scripture?  It is a testimony to her faith at being chosen as God’s servant.  And because she embraces God’s future for her, she faces the future with the assurance of God’s peace.  Who are the people in our world who need God’s peace?  What are our hopes for peace in our world today?

Prayer:  Dear God, thank you for your son, Jesus.  Thank you for those in our world today who seek to act for peace.  Help us look for ways to be peacemakers at home, at church, at work, and at school.  Amen.

CHRISTMAS EVE–CHRIST CANDLE

First Reader:  This evening, we celebrate Christmas.  Tonight, we light the three purple candles and the pink candle.  We also light the Christ Candle–the center white candle.  The first Sunday, we lit the candle of hope.  The second Sunday, we lit the candle of love.  The third Sunday, we lit the candle of joy.  The fourth Sunday, we lit the candle of peace.  This evening, we also light the Christ Candle which represents Jesus.  When we light this candle, we remember Jesus’ birth.  Our time of waiting has ended!

Light the first, second, third, and fourth candles.  Light the center white candle.

Second Reader:  When we look at the center candle, we remember that God sent Jesus to give hope, love, joy, and peace to all God’s people.  Outside of Bethlehem, the shepherds saw a great light and heard the voice of angels.  They traveled to the manger and saw the baby Jesus.  Far away from Bethlehem, wise men saw a star in the sky.  They followed the star and were filled with great joy when they found Jesus.  They remind us that the gift of Jesus was for all people.

Third Reader:  Matthew 2:1-12: “In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, ‘Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.’ When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him; and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. They told him, ‘In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it has been written by the prophet: “And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler
who is to shepherd my people Israel.” Then Herod secretly called for the wise men and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared. Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, ‘Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage.’ When they had heard the king, they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure-chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road.”

All:  Dear God, thank you for your son, Jesus.  Thank you God for sending Jesus for ALL people, not just those in Bethlehem so long ago.  On this Christmas Eve, help us to remember and rejoice because Jesus was born.  May we live every day remembering your peace, joy, love, hope, and share these with others.  Amen.

Christmas Reflections

Read again Luke 2:1-20 (above)

What are your fondest memories of Christmas?

Of the four virtues of Jesus, which resonates most with you? (Hope, Love, Joy, Peace)

Categories: Advent