Advent, Advent Wreath

Advent Wreath Liturgies for RCL Year A (2019)

Lighting the Candle of Hope        Advent 1A          December 1, 2019

One: The prophet Isaiah shared a word with the weary world, a vision of the day when God will bring our conflicts to an end. God’s house will be on top of the highest mountain, and people from all over will come to it. 

All: God will judge all countries and settle our arguments. 

One: Weapons will be turned into tools for growth.

All: Wars will come to an end. 

One: As we wait faithfully for God’s time, we light the candle of Hope.

All: Our hope is in God, who will bring all nations together.

(Respond with verse 1 of “Now It’s Time to Light the Candle.”)

Lighting the Candle of Peace       Advent 2A           December 8, 2019

One: The prophet Isaiah shared a word with the fearful world, a vision of gentleness and peace.  “The wolf shall live with the lamb,” he said, and “the leopard shall lie down with the kid, the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them.” Animals we would never trust together will eat right next to each other! And their children will be safe with each other.

All: Animals who like meat will eat plants! 

One: Tiny children will be safe even in the places we expect them to be in danger. 

All: God’s mountain will be a peaceful place for all people because everyone will know how God wants things to be. 

One: As we wait faithfully for God’s time, we light the candles of Hope and Peace.

All: Our peace comes from God, who became one of us in Jesus.

(Respond with verse 2 of “Now It’s Time to Light the Candle.”)

Lighting the Candle of Joy            Advent 3A           December 15, 2019

One: The prophet Isaiah shared a word with the grieving world, a vision of vibrant renewal. All of creation will be glad. Even the earth itself will praise God! 

All: Dry places like deserts will be full of blooming life. 

One: Joy will grow like new crocuses poking up through the ground and spreading out in the front yard.  

All: The whole earth will sing praises to God, and so will we!

One: As we wait faithfully for God’s time, we light the candles of Hope, Peace, and Joy.

All: In God’s time of joy, all sorrow and sighing will leave us.

(Respond with verse 3 of “Now It’s Time to Light the Candle.”)

Lighting the Candle of Love         Advent 4A           December 22, 2019

One: The prophet Isaiah shared a word with the lonely world. We will not be left alone. God will give us a sign.

All: A young woman will have a baby.

One: He will be named Emmanuel, which means “God with us.” 

All: His life and his words will show us how to follow God and choose what is good. 

One: As we wait faithfully for God’s time, we light the candles of Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love.

All: In God’s time of love, we will learn to love each other.

(Respond with verse 4 of “Now It’s Time to Light the Candle.”)

Lighting the Christ Candle             Christmas Eve Year A      December 24, 2019

One: The prophet Isaiah share a word with a waiting world. “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness on them light has shined…For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders.”

All: “He is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

One: “His authority shall grow continually, and there shall be endless peace for the throne of David and his kingdom. He will establish and uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time onward and forevermore.”

All: “The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.”

One: As we stand faithfully on the brink of God’s time, we light the candles of Hope, Peace, Joy and Love.

All: Tonight we enter God’s time, faithfully. We light the Christ Candle to celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus, the Light coming into the world.

(Respond with a carol, such as “Angels From the Realms of Glory” or “Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence.”)


These Advent wreath liturgies created by Martha Spong draw on the Isaiah passages for Advent in Year A of the Revised Common Lectionary, as well as previous liturgies created by the author. The images were created by the author in Canva. Permission is granted for use of both liturgies and images in church settings.


For more RCL-based resources, including sermon prompts and liturgies, subscribe to my Monday email, Reflectionary.

Advent Wreath, Narrative Lectionary

Advent Wreath Liturgies, Narrative Lectionary Year 1

Advent 1 – Hope (Habakkuk 1:1-4; 2:2-4; 3:17-19)

One: People of God, prophets like Habbakuk pointed to a future hope, a Savior.
Many: No one knew when he would come.
One: They only hoped they would recognize the Messiah, the Son of God.
Many: We wait with hope for the One who has come and is coming.
One: Today we light a candle to symbolize our hope. We hope in the One who will come.
(Light the candle of Hope.)
One: People of God, a New Hope is coming.
All: We will rejoice in the Lord.

Advent 2 – Peace (Esther 4:1-17)

One: People of God, Esther was a heroic woman who took a great risk to bring peace for her people. .
Many: We want peace to overcome struggle, violence, and cruelty.
One: It can be dangerous to call for peace.
Many: This might be the job God needs us to do.
One: Today we light a candle to symbolize God’s peace. We hope in the One who will come. We pray for God’s peace to prevail.
(Light the candles of Hope and Peace.)
One: People of God, take courage.
All: We take courage from the light of God’s peace.

Advent 3 – Joy (Isaiah 42:1-9)

One: People of God, Isaiah promised a servant God who would come to save us.
Many: The Savior will be a light to the nations.
One: People everywhere are eager for the justice he will teach and the joy he will bring.
Many: We will see prison doors opened and people set free.
One: Today we light a candle to symbolize the joy we anticipate. We hope in the One who will come. We pray for God’s peace to prevail. Our joy will come with God’s servant.
(Light the candles of Hope, Peace and Joy.)
One: People of God, great change lies ahead.
Many: We wait to see it with joy!

Advent 4 – Love (Matthew 1:18-25)

One: People of God, today we hear the story of an angel appearing in a dream.
Many: Joseph was a righteous man who heard God’s messenger.
One: Because of his deep faith, he trusted in God’s steadfast love.
Many: When we know God’s love, we can extend it to others.
One: Today we light a candle to symbolize the steadfast love of God. We hope in the One who will come. We pray for God’s peace to prevail. Our joy will come with God’s servant. God’s love never ends.
(Light the candles of Hope, Peace, Joy and Love.)
One: People of God, remember you are God’s beloved children.
Many: We celebrate God’s steadfast love!

Christmas Eve – Christ Candle (Luke 2:1-14, [15-20])

One: People of God, when the angels appeared, the shepherds were terrified.
Many: We will not fear, for this is the night of Good News!
One: We celebrate the good news of a baby, born in a stable.
Many: Tonight we light a candle to mark his birth.
One: We hope in the one who has come, Jesus Christ.
(Light the Candle of Hope.)
We pray for God’s peace to prevail.
(Light the Candle of Peace)
Our joy comes with God’s servant.
(Light the candle of Joy)
God’s love never ends.
(Light the candle of Love)
Born as one of us, Jesus became God’s living Word of Hope, Peace, Joy and Love.
(Light the Christ Candle)
Do not be afraid! The Good News is here!
All: Glory to God in the Highest!

Looking for a carol of response? Now It’s Time to Light the Candle includes Advent themes of hope, peace, joy and love.

Liturgies (2014) and carol (2015) are copyrighted by the Rev. Martha K. Spong. You are welcome to use these liturgies, based on the Narrative Lectionary Year 1, in weekly worship at your local church. You are also free to adapt them to your circumstances (using multiple readers, for instance). Please leave a comment to let me know where they will be used. This does not constitute permission to publish the readings as a set or to claim credit for them online or in print. Thank you, as always, to Working Preacher, for inventing and refining the Narrative Lectionary.

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.