Nov 27 Hope Candle Faith as a Way of Life Habakkuk 1:1-7; 2:1-4 3: [3B-6], 17-19 Prophet grieved by injustice: Faith as a way, not an answer Matt 26: 36-38 Gethsemane Jesus is grieved, asks Disciples to watch Hope
God, what does hope taste like? Does it taste like clear cool water after a faithful run God says, faith is a path. God light our path with Hope Help us tp the light the Hope candle So we might find your justice, mercy and light.
Suggested Hymn V. 1 Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence or V. 1 O Come, O Come Emmanuel
Dec. 4 Esther Love Candle Esther 4:1-17 For Such a Time as This, Esther was Made Queen
Salt and Light
Too often we feel in our souls the meaning of for such a time as this! We need love candles, to light our way. God sends the Esthers, to love us in terrible times. God light our path with Love Help us to light the Love candle So we might find your justice, mercy and light.
Suggested Hymn V. 2 Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence or V. 3 O Come, O Come Emmanuel
Dec 11 Joy Candle Light of Nations Isaiah 42:1-9 Through Spirit bring Release to Prisoners Matthew 12:15-21 Spirit of justice, fulfilling the prophecy
Light of Nations, how we desire you We long for the taste of freedom God sends the Holy Spirit to free all prisoners God light the path to freedom with Joy Help us to light the Joy candle So we might find your justice, mercy and light.
Suggested Hymn V. 3 Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence or V. 2 O Come, O Come Emmanuel
Dec 18th Peace Candle Jesus as Immanuel Matthew 1:18-25 fPsalm 23:14
Holy Spirit, we cannot even fully conceive your peace But how we need the fullness of God’s Shalom in our souls God be with us, our Emmanuel, tell us the story until it lives in us God light our path to Peace Help us to light the Peace candle So we might find your justice, mercy and light.
Suggested Hymn V. 4 Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence or V. 1 O Come, O Come Emmanuel
Dec 24 Christ Candle Birth of Jesus Luke 2:1-14 [15-20] Psalm 96 (10-13) God, you are coming to us in Christ We long to fill your presence here God what a miracle you become, a baby a human translation of God’s love Come let us welcome Christ Come let us find you in justice, mercy and light
Suggested Hymn It Came Upon A Midnight Clear or O Holy Night
Feel free to use/adapt/share with credit to Pastor Katy Stenta
We don’t know how we are going to get through this season,
They sat through my office and said,
And their pain sat visceral in the room.
And I nodded along and prayed that they could find places
where their grief could be invited along with them and given a place at the table.
God, this is a prayer that Christmas can be more of a season of comfort
for those who need it.
I sat in the cards shop the other day,
and could not find one card
that expressed the comfort that I wanted to say during this season
of pandemic-Christmas tide. And I think, God
of what it exactly it was that the shepherds,
and the (actually unnumbered) Magi
and John the Baptist and Mary were looking for on that dark night.
The tidings were Good News of Great Joy yes,
but also, I think, it was comfort that they hungered for
Wasn’t that the fulfillment proclaimed in the Magnificat?
Wasn’t that the first title given to Jesus in Isaiah?
Not mighty* or everlasting father! No!
The first thing named for the Savior to come Counselor! Comforter, and a Wonderful one at that.
Because Lord knows this advent we are black with mourning and grief.
There is no comfort candle on the advent wreath (at least not traditionally)
But that’s who you are, Holy Spirit, Comforter.
And Lord knows we need comfort!
God, may we let this season be one not just of Joy or Hope–
if we aren’t feeling those things, let that be ok.
Help us to make this, for those who need it,
be a season of Comfort.
Help us to create a Season of Comfort, for the lonely, the lost, the grieving, I pray.
Comfort your people. Please God, because you know, we sure do need it.
And maybe next year, we will add a comfort candle to the wreath–
Til then, comfort your people we pray.
Feel Free to use/adapt/share with credit to Pastor Katy Stenta
Thanks to @byAndriaIrwin for the inspirational tweet
*note that the Hebrew word for this actually translates as God of many mounds, which means God of many worships spots (powerful/accessible) and God of many breasts/nourishing places. We have later shorthanded it as mighty.
O come, O come, Immanuel,
and ransom captive Israel
that mourns in lonely exile here
until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Immanuel
shall come to you, O Israel)
Go, and know this will be a sign to you, for you will find a child lying in a manger.
And we will know good news of great joy for all people, for unto us is born to us is the Messiah, the Immanuel, the Wonderful Counselor, the Strength of God, The Eternal Protector, the Champion of Peace.
(Translation of Text from Illustrated Children’s Ministry)
One Voice: Beloved, as we gather on this third Sunday of Advent, let us recall with gladness the God who has kept us thus far.
ALL: We gather with mouths filled with laughter, and we lift our voices with shouts of joy. Even through our tears and our struggles in these times, we rejoice for we know that we are never alone. Today, we can boldly declare in all circumstances that the Lord has done great things for us. Our joyful praise belongs to God. Alleluia and amen.
Call to Confession
Too often we lose sight of what is important and what is good for our souls—our bodies even! We spend our resources, our time and our energy on things that are not life-affirming or joy-inspiring—and sometimes we even fill up on things that cause harm to us, others and our planet.
Let us take a moment and reflect on the things we need to let go of? those places in our lives we need God to restore? Let us confess our sins, not out of guilt but with a desire to have our joy made complete in God. Let us pray in silence…
(Moment of Silent Prayer)
Prayer of Assurance
Sisters, brothers, siblings—God desires to be in right relationship with each and every one of us. Just as God forgave David and promised God’s steadfast love to him—so it is for us. Let us with joyful hearts turn back to God and as the prophet Isaiah declares “be led back in peace.” Having claimed this peace for ourselves, let us now share the sign of peace with one another.
Lighting of the Advent Candle
One Voice: Today we light the 3rd Advent Candle—the candle which represents joy.
ALL: In the lighting of this candle—we invoke God’s joy into this holy season, which can be painful and lonely for so many. We declare God’s joy in these times when the world is filled with hardness and hate. We believe that God’s promise of joy is everlasting and burns boldly within each and every one of us. Like the light of this flame, today we let our joy shine for all the world to see! Amen.
My favorite parts of this year Christmas eve service are many…but I’d love to name some
1. The children helping to light the advent candle. I did away with pre-planning a family to light candles (who has time to do that? not me, not them) and have been cycling through the children youngest to eldest–without repeating the previous weeks’ lighters, and reviewing the meanings as the Children’s sermons (they remembered ALL of it!!!!). Christmas Eve I invited all the children up…I believe there were about 10, to come and help to light the candles. Siblings shared holding the stick, and we did not set the church on fire….then I got to explain why we were lighting the Christ Candle and how we were going to share the light. It was awesome.
2. My children were totally distracted, my eldest belted out the carols and my middle child (who has communicative difficulties i.e. words are hard for him) answered back to every single Bible reading I made, plust there was the whining and rustling and near-escapes…but it reminded me of why we were there. Its why *my* family sings “the little Lord Jesus lotsa crying he makes” for Away in the Manger.
3. Communion, where we got to hear the choir sing plus some young adults sang the Christmas Alleluia which is the cool new Christian song (YAY). We took it by intinction (where we dip the bread), which means I got to pass to every single person, it was amazing.
4. Candles at the end, and raising the lights for the last verse of Silent Night
5. Being able to wish EVERY single person there a MERRY CHRISTMAS