Tag Archives: Advent

Advent IV: Lighting the Candle for Love

The Candles of Advent (Year B)

The Fourth Sunday of Advent: Love

Voice: Last Sunday we lit the candle of joy. We light it and the candles of hope and peace again as we remember that Christ will come again and bring us everlasting peace and joy.

A person lights the candles of hope, peace, and joy.

Voice: The fourth candle of Advent is the Candle of Love. It’s light is meant to remind us of the love that God has for us.

Voice: Jesus shows us God’s perfect love. He is God’s love in human form. The bible says that “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life.”

Voice: Love is patient, love is kind and envies no one. Love is never boastful or conceited, rude or selfish. Love is not quick to take offense, it keeps no records of wrongs, it does not gloat over other people’s troubles, but rejoices in the right, the good, and the true. There is nothing that love cannot face, there is no limit to its faith, to its hope, to its endurance. Love never ends.

Voice: We light this candle today to remind us of how God’s perfect love is found in Jesus.

Light the Fourth Candle.

All Sing: First four verses of “O Come, O Come Emmanuel”

Voice: Let us pray. Loving God, we thank you for your gift of love – shown to us perfectly in Jesus Christ our Lord. Help us prepare our hearts to receive Him. Bless our worship. Help us to hear and do your word. We ask it in the name of the one born in Bethlehem. Amen.

Advent III: Lighting the Candle for Joy

The Candles of Advent (Year B)

The Third Sunday of Advent: Joy

Voice: Last Sunday the candle of peace was lit.  We light it and the candle of hope again as we remember that Christ will come again and bring to the world everlasting peace.

A person lights the candles of hope, and peace.

VoiceThe third candle of Advent is the Candle of Joy.  It reminds of the joy that Mary felt when the angel Gabriel told her that a special child would be born to her – a child who would save and deliver his people.

Voice: God wants us all to have joy.  The angel who  announced to the shepherds that Jesus had been born told them: “Do not be afraid.  I am bringing you good news of a great joy for all people – for to you is born this day, in the City of David, a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord.”

Voice: We light this candle to remember that Christ brings the promise of a new life – a life in which the blind receive sight, the lame walk, and the prisoners are set free.  We light it to remember that He is the bringer of true and everlasting joy.

Light the Third Candle.

All Sing: First three verses of “O Come, O Come Emmanuel”

Voice: Let us pray. Loving God, we thank you for the joy  you bring us.  Help us prepare our hearts for this gift.  Bless our worship.  Help us to hear and to do your word.  We ask it in the name of the one born in Bethlehem. Amen.

Advent II: Lighting the Candle for Peace

The Candles of Advent (Year B)

The Second Sunday of Advent: Peace

Voice: Last Sunday we lit the first candle in our Advent wreath, the candle of hope. We light it again as we remember that Christ will come again to fulfill all of God’s promises to us.

A person lights the candle of hope.

Voice: The second candle of Advent is the Candle of Peace. It is sometimes called the Bethlehem Candle to remind us of the place in which preparations were made to receive and cradle the Christ child.

Voice: Peace is a gift that we must be prepared for. God gives us the gift of peace when we turn to God in faith.

Voice: The prophet Isaiah calls Christ “the Prince of Peace.” Through John the Baptist and all the other prophets, God asks us to prepare our hearts so that He may come in.

Voice: Our hope is in God, and in God’s son Jesus Christ. Our peace is found in Him. We light this candle today to remind us that He brings peace to all who trust in Him.

Light the Second Candle.

All Sing: First two verses of “O Come, O Come Emmanuel”

Voice: Let us pray. Loving God, thank you for the peace you give us through Jesus. Help us prepare our hearts to receive Him. Bless our worship. Guide us in all that we say and do. We ask it in the name of the One born in Bethlehem. Amen.

Advent I: Lighting the Candle for Hope

The Candles of Advent (Year B)

The First Sunday of Advent: Hope

Voice: Today is the first Sunday of Advent, the Sunday in which we recall the hope we have in Christ.

Voice: The prophets of Israel all spoke of the coming of Christ, of how a savior would be born, a king in the line of David. They spoke of how He would rule the world wisely and bless all nations.

Voice: On Christmas day the Christ of our hope was born. On Good Friday the Christ of our hope died. On Easter day the Christ of our hope rose from the dead. He then ascended into heaven. On the last day, the Christ of our hope will come again to establish His realm over all things on earth.

Voice: As the followers of Christ, we await His return. We light this candle to remember that as He came to us as humbly in the manger at Bethlehem and gave light to the world, so is He coming again in power to deliver His people.

Voice: We light this candle to remind us to be alert and to watch for His return.

Light the First Candle.

All Sing: Verse One of “O Come, O Come Emmanuel”

Voice: Let us pray. Loving God, we thank you for the hope you give us. Help us prepare our hearts for the Lord’s coming. Bless our worship. Help us live holy and righteous lives. We ask it in the name of the One born in Bethlehem. Amen.

Advent 2014: One Solitary Life Can Change the World

Advent 2014: This season I’m providing a series of daily Bible readings (at the bottom of this post) to help you relate to the Advent themes of waiting, preparation, light in the darkness, and the coming of the promised Messiah. (Click here for information about our Christmas 2014 worship services, tree sale, ministries and lectionary.) But first I’d like to share the following story.

By Dr. James Allan Francis, written as a part of his 1926 book, “The Real Jesus,” while Dr. Francis was pastor of the First Baptist Church of Los Angeles.

Here is a man who was born in an obscure village, the child of a peasant woman. He grew up in another village. He worked in a carpenter shop until He was thirty. Then for three years He was an itinerant preacher.

He never owned a home. He never wrote a book. He never held an office. He never had a family. He never went to college. He never put His foot inside a big city. He never traveled two hundred miles from the place He was born. He never did one of the things that usually accompany greatness. He had no credentials but Himself…

While still a young man, the tide of popular opinion turned against him. His friends ran away. One of them denied Him. He was turned over to His enemies. He went through the mockery of a trial. He was nailed upon a cross between two thieves. While He was dying His executioners gambled for the only piece of property He had on earth – His coat. When He was dead, He was laid in a borrowed grave through the pity of a friend.

Nineteen long centuries have come and gone, and today He is a centerpiece of the human race and leader of the column of progress.

I am far within the mark when I say that all the armies that ever marched, all the navies that were ever built; all the parliaments that ever sat and all the kings that ever reigned, put together, have not affected the life of man upon this earth as powerfully as has that one solitary life.

The weeks of Advent remind us to set aside some of the hectic business of the holiday season, and to quietly reflect on the promise of the baby born in Bethlehem 2000 years ago. The Bible readings listed below relate to the Advent themes of waiting, preparation, light in the darkness, and the coming of the promised Messiah.

First Week of Advent

Second Week of Advent

Third Week of Advent

Fourth Week of Advent

Rev. Paul M. Turner

About Rev. Paul M. Turner

Founding and Senior Pastor of Gentle Spirit Christian Church, Rev. Paul M. Turner grew up in suburban Chicago and was ordained by the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches in 1989. He and his husband Bill have lived in metro Atlanta since 1994. He is the editor of the Seeds of Hope blog whose posts from 1999-2005 are at http://whosoever.org/seeds/ -- and which now resides at http://gentlespirit.org/topics/blog/seeds-of-hope/.

Advent: Its Genesis, Meaning, Mood and Message

The Genesis of Advent
Starting in about the 9th century in the Western Church, the season of Advent has been celebrated as a period of preparation for the birth of our Lord and the beginning of the ecclesiastical year (Church year).

In the early church words Advent, Epiphany, and Nativity were used interchangeably to denote the “feast of the Nativity”. Advent services first appeared in the 6th century in the church of Gaul. Epiphany was observed as a baptismal festival and the period preceding it was utilized as a period of preparation for baptism, much like the season of Lent. So Advent originated as a type of “little Lent”. From France the observance spread to England in the 7th and 8th centuries. In the 9th century, Advent was finally incorporated into the Roman Rite.

The Meaning of Advent
The word “Advent” means literally, “to come to”. It is a special season when we celebrate the bold claim that the Lord of the Universe has come among us in human form through Jesus the Christ. In him we have Immanuel, God with us. Not only do we celebrate that God has come to the world in human form from Galilee but also that God is come as a spiritual reality and will come again in triumph at the close of the age.

There is another sense to the definition of Advent, “to come to”. Since God has, is and will come to us, therefore we need “to come to”. Our task as people in full relationship with God is to become fully awake not only to the importance of indwelling but also to the many immersions of Christ in our lives. None of us is fully conscious of God’s presence; we need to come to, to wake up, and be vigilant for the visits of God within history and at the end of time when God’s realm is fully realized.

The Mood of Advent
If God is coming to us and we truly believe that to be true, our mood will be one of excitement, anticipation, and joyful preparation. Mood is conveyed through color and light. As the awareness of the celebrative nature of Advent has grown, many congregations have substituted blue for the older tradition of purple, as we have done in our church. The brighter color of blue, the color of infinite sky, conveys better the bright hope of change and eternal life in the Christ than the more somber and sacrificial purple.

The Message of Advent
As we look at God’s word, we need to understand how the Christ (as the word of God) comes to humankind now and how we can receive and carry the Christ’s presence today. This starts with our attitude… and the guides for which can be found all throughout scripture. I am calling them “Advent Attitudes” — alertness, attentiveness, watchfulness, readiness, joyful anticipation, patience and receptivity. The task then becomes to take a journey over the next 4 weeks to come into a full consciousness with God, who comes to us in Jesus the Christ and in fact be prepared.

Rev. Paul M. Turner

About Rev. Paul M. Turner

Founding and Senior Pastor of Gentle Spirit Christian Church, Rev. Paul M. Turner grew up in suburban Chicago and was ordained by the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches in 1989. He and his husband Bill have lived in metro Atlanta since 1994. He is the editor of the Seeds of Hope blog whose posts from 1999-2005 are at http://whosoever.org/seeds/ -- and which now resides at http://gentlespirit.org/topics/blog/seeds-of-hope/.