Advent at Grace

Advent and Christmas

This year, Advent and Christmas seemed quite unlike any Advent or Christmas in recent memory.  This year we had the opportunity to have Advent @ HOME with our family and loved ones. 

Below are the readings we used. As your winger goes on, Christmas doesns’t have to end…free to use this resource as it works best for your situation.  You will find suggested scripture readings as well as some song suggestions. Find unique and creative ways to include every member of your household.  Take pictures/videos of your family Advent Wreath Candle lighting and share them on social media if you wish. 

If you do not have an Advent Wreath, be creative.  Have fun. Use whatever you have. Plain candles on a stand would work. Involve your children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, neighbors, etc., in every way possible. 

Set aside a time and place to share in this weekly candle lighting ceremony.  Typically, it would be on the Sundays of Advent, but find a time that works best for you.  The location could be the kitchen table, or a coffee table in the living room, or perhaps in one of the bedrooms. Wherever it works for you is what matters. 

Once you have your wreath and candles set up, prepare your hearts.  Spend a brief moment in silent prayer, saying: “Lord, let Your light shine through me/us…”

Feel free to have someone read any or all or none of the suggested scripture readings.  If you have a Children’s Bible with pictures, that would be a great way to involve the kids.

If you desire, feel free to sing any of the suggested songs or songs of your own (or your kids’) choosing.  Most importantly, make this Advent season yours!

For those who wish to participate in a virtual Advent Wreath Candlelighting, we will have a zoom gathering each Sunday in Advent. See below with more details.

With my love and prayers for a holy and meaningful  Advent!

Pastor Mark

Grace UMC  Advent @ HOME

Time: Sundays in Advent, 11:30am EST

Click to Join:

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/6782268312?pwd=WVNFTHU1dEdmbW1wb3V0Q2d4c0JlZz09

Meeting ID: 678 226 8312

Passcode: 392423

Possible Advent Songs:

“The Advent Song” The Faith We Sing #2090 (vv. 1,2,3,4,5)

“O Come, O Come, Emmanuel“ UMH #211

“This Little Light of Mine”  UMH #585

“Jesus Loves Me” UMH #191

Advent Wreath Readings  (adapted from Discipleship Ministries)

Week 1: November 29, 2020

Prayer:  “Lord, let Your light shine through me/us with abundant HOPE”

Scripture readings: Isaiah 64:1-9 & Mark 13:24-37

Reader One: If ever there was a year we needed Advent, this is the year. We hardly know how to describe the year we have lived through. We hesitate to reflect on all the mess around us in 2020. All we know is that nothing seems right, nothing seems like it used to be, nothing. We need Advent!

Reader Two: The prophet Isaiah cried out for us, “O that you would tear open the heavens and come down … To make your name known … so that nations might tremble at your presence.” So tear through the mess, O Lord, and come down to us again. We long to be your people, a people of hope.

Reader Three: We light this first candle as a sign of our hope. Hope that you can meet us, even in the mess of our world. Hope that you still see us, though we feel we are lost in the rubble. Let this light be the guide that brings us to Emmanuel once more.

LIGHT FIRST CANDLE

Reader Four: O Come, O Come Emmanuel. Amen.

Week 2: December 6, 2020

Prayer:  “Lord, let Your light shine through me/us with abundant LOVE”

Scripture readings: Isaiah 40:1-11 & Mark 1:1-8

Reader One: Our lists are long, even in this strange mess where we live these days. And we want to do it right, we want to be safe, but we want to be able to enjoy the season. We’ve got work to do to put right what has gone wrong, to heal what is broken, to mend the relationships, and to prepare for the One that will come.

Reader Two: The prophet Isaiah reminded us that there is work to be done. “Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” When God comes in, then healing is to be found, but we need to make the way; we need to open the door into our lives.

Reader Three: So, we light these candles as a sign of our love and faith that the God we worship is not far from us and that we can clear the way for God to come and dwell with us. We light these candles as a reminder of God’s unending love.

LIGHT FIRST and SECOND CANDLES

Reader Four: O Come, O Come Emmanuel.  Amen.

Week 3: December 13, 2020

Prayer“Lord, let Your light shine through me/us with abundant JOY”

Scripture readings: Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11 & John 1:6-8, 19-28

Reader One: We want everything to look nice: the decorations of the season, our homes with their lights and tinsel, wreaths and ribbons. We want to lighten the darkness around us, bring beauty to the ugliness that wears us down. We decorate, because it is tradition. Because it lifts our hearts.

Reader Two: The prophet Isaiah smiled when he said, “God will give a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, a mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit.” No matter how far we feel from the spirit of the season, God promises to decorate us with love and with joy.

Reader Three: We light these candles as a sign of our joy in the beautiful things of this season – not just the things that glitter and flash, but the deeper things, the beauty of the heart and the soul, the beauty of love shared in service and hospitality. We light this candle of joy because our hearts are filled with joy.

LIGHT FIRST, SECOND and THIRD CANDLES

Reader Four: O Come, O Come Emmanuel.  Amen.

Week 4: December 20, 2020

Prayer“Lord, let Your light shine through me/us with abundant PEACE”

Scripture readings:  2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16 & Luke 1:26-38

Reader One: We live on the brink every day. We stand on the threshold between this world and the next one. We live and move between the ordinary and divine, between the mundane and the mystery. Too often, we forget to look up and see the angels in our living room. We forget that the love we give and live is a sign of eternity, God with us, right now. We forget that Christ is coming.

Reader Two: Luke tells us that God’s favor came to a girl, an ordinary girl. It might have been you or your daughter; it might have been the girl down the street or your grandchild. But the messenger of God came and greeted her and said, “The Lord is with you.” What a gift and a promise: Emmanuel, God is with us.

Reader Three: We light these candles with peace in our hearts for the promise of proximity, the nearness of God. Even when we forget to listen, to lean into that presence, God is as close as our own breath. This, in a confused and confusing world, is a peace that passes all understanding. It is the peace that knows that company is coming.

LIGHT FIRST, SECOND, THIRD and FOURTH CANDLES

Reader Four: O Come, O Come Emmanuel.  Amen.

Christmas Eve: December 24, 2020

Prayer“Lord, let Your light shine through me/us.”

Scripture readings: Isaiah 9.2-7 & Luke 2.1-20

Reader One: Advent hope moves us;

LIGHT FIRST CANDLE

Reader Two: Advent love leads us;

LIGHT SECOND CANDLE

Reader Three: Advent joy stirs us;

LIGHT THIRD CANDLE

Reader Four: Advent peace stills us, that we might affirm our King Jesus.

LIGHT FOURTH CANDLE

Reader Five:  It is time we celebrate the coming of the Christ Child.

LIGHT CHRIST CANDLE

Reader Five:  We believe that Jesus is the Son of God. He was born of the Virgin Mary in Bethlehem of Judea. He was the long-awaited Messiah whose coming was prophesied. The same Jesus lives today in our hearts. He deserves our highest loyalty and total commitment. In Jesus Christ our hope is fulfilled; our love is consummated; our joy is complete; and our peace is sealed.

Reader One:  Rejoice, a Savior is born.

ALL:  A Savior is born, indeed. Joy to the world!

Suggested Songs:

“Joy to the World”

“Silent Night”

“O Come, All Ye Faithful”