Advent, Advent Wreath, Liturgy

Advent Wreath Lighting – Narrative Lectionary, Year 3

danielNovember 27 – First Sunday of Advent (Daniel 6:6-27)

One: Sometime we pray, facing an unknown fate.
Many: Sometimes we pray, facing an uncertain world.
One: Although he would soon be thrown to the lions, Daniel trusted in God.
Many: We hold that hope.
One: When life takes us to the dangerous edge, we face our own lions.
Many: We stay awake through the night, trying to tame depression, debt, job loss, addiction, broken relationships.
One: We draw our hope from God.
Many: And at dawn, the light comes again.
(Light the first candle.)
One: “God is rescuer and savior; God performs signs and miracles in heaven and on earth.” (Daniel 6:27a, CEB)
Many: Our living God gives hope.

December 4 –  Second Sunday of Advent (Joel 2:12-13, 28-29)

One: In a torn world, we wonder how to act with compassion.
Many: In our own lives, we wonder where to find harmony.
One: Even when we don’t agree on the details, we want the same thing.
Many: We all want peace.
One: Like people in exile, we feel displaced.
Many: We try to find our way in a world where we cannot find our familiar landmarks, forgetting to look to God first.
One: Without God, there is no peace.
Many: Even now, we can return to God.
(Light the first and second candles.)
One: “Return to the Lord your God, for God is merciful and compassionate, very patient, full of faithful love, and ready to forgive.” (Joel 2:13b, CEB))
Many: Our forgiving God brings peace.

December 11 –  Third Sunday of Advent (Isaiah 61:1-11)

One: In this season of gift-buying, it’s easy to confuse possessions with happiness.
Many: Sometimes we choose the material when we need the mystical.
One: Sometimes we hesitate to really feel it; we’re bound up in other worries.
Many: We could all use some joy.
One: We have turned avoidance into a kind of exile.
Many: Now it’s time to come together again, to bind up broken hearts together.
One: Get ready for good news of great joy.
Many: Let us celebrate God’s goodness.
(Light the first, second, and third candles.)
One: “I surely rejoice in the Lord; my heart is joyful because of my God.” (Isaiah 61:10a, CEB)
Many: Our loving God promises everlasting joy.

December 18 –  Fourth Sunday of Advent (Luke 1:26-49)

One: There are many kinds of love in this world:
Many: Between parents and children, with extended family, for friends we have known all our lives,
One: romance pressured by the season, and the selfless kindness of strangers.
Many: We’re all looking for love.
One: The angel called on Mary to bring God-with-us into the world, to love and nurture Jesus.
Many: The conversation started with, “Do not be afraid!”
One: O, make us brave to say it!
Many: Love requires courage.
(Light the first, second, third, and fourth candles.)
One: “Happy is she who believed that the Lord would fulfill the promises he made to her.” (Luke 1:45, CEB)
Many: Our in-breaking God is love.

December 24 – Christmas Eve (Luke 2:1-14 and Psalm 96)

One: Our living God gives hope. (Light the first candle.)
Many: Our forgiving God brings peace. (Light the second candle.)
One: Our loving God promises everlasting joy. (Light the third candle.)
Many: Our in-breaking God is love. (Light the fourth candle.)
One: Now our waiting comes to an end.
Many: The time for rejoicing is here!
One: Sing to the Lord a new song! Sing to the Lord, all the earth!
Many: We will sing to the Lord! We will bless God’s holy name!
(Light the Christ candle.)
One: “Don’t be afraid! Look! I bring good news to you—wonderful, joyous news for all people.” (Luke 2:10, CEB)
Many: Jesus Christ is born!

You are welcome to use these liturgies in weekly worship at your local church. Looking for a carol of response? Now It’s Time to Light the Candle includes Advent themes of hope, peace, joy and love. These liturgies were created, and are copyrighted, by the Rev. Martha K. Spong, 2016, adapted from the Common English Bible. You are also free to modify them to your circumstances (using multiple or single readers, for instance). Please leave a comment to let me know where they will be used. You are also welcome to share the blog links. You will find readings to go with Revised Common Lectionary Year A here.

This does not constitute permission to publish the readings as a set or to claim credit for them online or in print. 

13 thoughts on “Advent Wreath Lighting – Narrative Lectionary, Year 3”

  1. HI Martha – we are using the Lectionary Advent Candle lighting liturgies with some modifications at Church of the Saviour in Cleveland Heights OH. Thank you!

  2. Dear Rev. Spong,
    We are working on sending out Advent wreath kits to everyone in our congregation during this pandemic, online worship, Advent season. We would like to use your prayers to go with the kits, citing your authorship of course. They are lovely. Can we have your permission to do that?

    Rev, David Eppelsheimer
    Community of ChristChurch
    Hillsboro, OR

  3. This year we continue to worship online. Our services are live streamed and those live stream videos are available for replay on youtube and facebook. We make our bulletins available online so that those at home might participate in worship at home. We would like to use these Advent Wreath lighting litanies for our worship. If we cite your copyright and the CEB copyright appropriately, might we have permission in these extraordinary circumstances to publish the litanies as part of our worship materials online and also keep this portion of the service available for replay in our live streaming videos?

  4. Thank you for these. I have adapted for our use at King of Glory Lutheran Church (ELCA) in Billings, Montana. Peace be with you!

  5. I have adapted your lovely liturgy for use this advent. Thank you for your gifts! Community United Methodist Church Fairfield CA. God’s blessings to you.

  6. Hello, Carol. First Baptist Church of Lawrence, KS (American Baptist) will be using your Advent candle litanies beginning 11/29/20. We are still entirely virtual, so the plan is to have one family each week video themselves lighting that week’s candle and reading the litany (plus any from previous weeks, as we progress through Advent). Their video will be played in our Sunday worship livestream to YouTube (also embedded in our website). After the livestream is finished, the video remains permanently on YouTube, is embedded on our website, and uploaded to Facebook. The audio is also used for our podcast, available on numerous podcast platforms. Do we need your permission for this? If so, we would like to request it. Thank you so much for your work!

  7. Thank you for sharing and making available for use. Bethany UMC and Ebenezer UMC (Lebanon, PA) will use in 2020.

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