I’m worshiping in a congregation following the Narrative Lectionary and created these liturgies for the church’s use. I am happy to share them if you leave a comment and let me know where you are. (If you are looking for RCL Year A, click here!)
Advent 1 – Hope (Daniel 3:1, 8-30)
Leader: The poet, Emily Dickinson, wrote:
“Hope is the thing with feathers
that perches in the soul.”
The psalmist declared:
“I put my hope in You all day long.”
Hope is more than wishful thinking. Hope is the Spirit of God dwelling within us, reminding us we are never alone. Hope is our active commitment to be God’s faithful people, whether we walk an easy path or face fiery trials.
When we light the candle of Hope, we embrace God’s presence among us, yesterday and today and always.
People: Whatever we face in life, we will put our hope in God.
Advent 2 – Peace (Ezekiel 37:1-14)
Leader: The poet, Wendell Berry, wrote:
“When despair for the world grows in me…
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.”
We think of the 23rd Psalm,
“He leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul.”
When everything feels hopeless, when we feel as dead as the dry bones in Ezekiel’s valley, God calls us away from the workaday world. God calls us to breathe in the holy breath of peace.
When we light the candle of Peace, we breathe in the One who restores us.
People: Whatever we face in life, God’s Spirit of peace will dwell within us.
Advent 3 – Joy (Isaiah 55:1-11)
Leader: The poet, Mary Oliver, wrote:
“If you suddenly and unexpectedly feel joy, don’t hesitate. Give in to it…life has some possibility left…Joy is not made to be a crumb.”
It seemed impossible, but the Israelites returned to their home from exile in Babylon. The prophet Isaiah offered a song of celebration. Come and rejoice! Eat and drink! Get your priorities in order! Can’t you see that God is close by? The people rejoiced, amazed to have a second chance. The end of the story has yet to be written.
When we light the candle of Joy, we celebrate the One who has come, is coming and will come again.
People: Whatever we face in life, God will make joy possible.
Advent 4 – Love (John 1:1-18, Psalm 130:5-8)
Leader: The poet, George Herbert, wrote:
“Love bade me welcome, but my soul drew back.”
It’s hard to take in the enormity of God’s love made flesh in Jesus Christ. We look at the candles and enjoy the special music of the season. It’s easier to listen to the radio or buy the red cup at the coffee shop than to dwell on the truth.
The psalmist knew it long before Jesus:
“For with The Lord, there is steadfast love, and with him is great power to redeem.”
God became one of us, out of love for all of us, then and now and forever.
When we light the candle of Love, we stop in awe of God’s unending love.
People: Whatever we face in life, God’s steadfast love surrounds us.
Christmas Eve – Christ Candle (Luke 2:1-14; Psalm 96:7-10)
Leader: The poet, Ann Weems, wrote:
“What I’d really like to give you for Christmas is a star…/Brilliance in a package,/something you could keep in the pocket of your jeans/or in the pocket of your being.”
We’ve come tonight for the light, for the shining candles and the smiles on young faces and the brilliance of tears on a neighbor’s cheek. But remember the words of the psalmist:
“Give to the Lord, all families of the nations—
give to the Lord glory and power!
Give to the Lord the glory due his name!
Enter his courtyards!
Bow down to the Lord in his holy splendor!
Tremble before him, all the earth!”
On this Christmas Eve, we tremble at the wonder we remember together: God entered our world in the body of a poor child, born on a dark night in a chilly stable, with only a manger for his bed. God entered the world and took on human form to show us how to live in hope, peace, joy and love. (Light previous candles.)
When we light the Christ candle, we remember the star above the stable. We celebrate the light coming into the darkness.
People: Glory to God in the highest! We give thanks for the brilliance of stars! We give thanks for the birth of Jesus Christ, God with us.