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YEAR A - ADVENT CANDLE LIGHTING
A SERMONS & SERMON - LECTIONARY RESOURCES SUB-PAGE

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THE CANDLES OF ADVENT: HOPE - PEACE - LOVE - JOY AND THE FIRST SUNDAY AFTER CHRISTMAS

Every Sunday of Advent the candle lighting is preceded by the Call to Worship, and the Introit: "O Come, O Come Emmanuel". Please come forward during the singing of the Introit. The candle lighting litany includes the prayer of Approach for the day - and is followed by the singing of "A Candle Is Burning" by the congregation. Similiar instructions hold for the Sunday After Christmas - but the songs are different.

"A Candle Is Burning" is a new song by Sandra Dean (1986) and is found in Voices United, the new hymn book of the United Church of Canada. The tune is "Away in A Manger". If you use this song in worship, please acknowledge authorship amd date. The words are reproduced here with permission. Sandra Dean lives in Ottawa, Canada and is Director of Music at Southminster United Church. She is delighted to share the song with you.

When the verse is over the candle lighting group may return to their seats. The "voices" can be assigned as you, the readers, see fit. The following contains a litany for each Sunday of Advent and For the First Sunday After Christmas.

Folk sometimes ask about the Advent Candle Wreath itself and what it means. The wreath is of course a circle - reminding us of the perfection and eternity of God. Many wreaths are decorated with evergreen branchs. The evergreen, like the circle, is a symbol of eternity - but also of life. Holly is sometimes used instead of - or with - the evergreen. The sharp points of the leaves of the Holly remind us of Christ's crown of thorns. The red berries remind us of his blood. There is a story that holly berries were white until Christ's blood fell on them - causing them to be red ever since.


THE CANDLES OF ADVENT - YEAR A
THE FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT: HOPE

INTROIT   O Come, O Come, Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel,
          that mourns in lonely exile here, until the Son of God appear.
          Rejoice!  Rejoice!  Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

VOICE     - Today is the first Sunday of Advent, the Sunday of
          Hope.

VOICE     - Our hope is in God, and in his son Jesus Christ.  He is
          the one appointed by God to be judge of all things.  He
          is the one through whom God has promised to save and
          redeem his people.

VOICE     - We light this candle today to remind us that he is our
          hope and the hope of the world.  We thank God for the
          promises he has made to us and for the light he has
          brought into the world.

Light the First Candle

VOICE     - Let us pray: O God of Hope, Emmanuel, God with Us -- we
          pray you to send your light into our hearts at this time. 
          Help us to be ready for the day and the hour of Christ's
          final appearing.  Live in us and help us to live in you. 
          By the power of the Holy Spirit, transform us so that our
          worship, our celebration, our time of preparation, may be
          pleasing unto you - both now - and forevermore.  Amen.

SONG:     A Candle is burning, a flame warm and bright,
          a candle of hope in December's dark night.
          While angels sing blessing from heaven's starry sky,
          our hearts we prepare now for Jesus is nigh.

RETURN TO YOUR SEATS AS SONG IS SUNG

Note - "A Candle is Burning" is by Sandra Dean, 1986. 
Music is "Away In A Manger" by James Murray 1887.


THE CANDLES OF ADVENT - YEAR A
THE SECOND SUNDAY OF ADVENT: PEACE

INTROIT   O Come, O Come, Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel,
          that mourns in lonely exile here, until the Son of God appear.
          Rejoice!  Rejoice!  Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

VOICE     - Today is the Second Sunday of Advent - the Sunday of Peace. 

VOICE     - Our peace is found in God and in his son, Jesus Christ. 
          John the Baptist, and all the prophets remind us, that to
          receive peace we must be prepared for it.

VOICE     - We light this candle today to remind us that Christ is
          the Prince of Peace, the one promised from the beginning
          of the world.  We thank God for the hope he gives us and
          for the peace he bestows.
  
Light the First and Second Candles

VOICE     - Let us pray --- O God of Peace, Emmanuel, we pray you
          to send your light into our hearts at this time.  Help us
          to be ready for the day and the hour of Christ's
          appearing.  Work in our hearts at this time and help us
          prepare ourselves for the peace that he brings - the
          inner peace that tells us that we are united with you and
          the outer peace which will come when he returns  to judge
          the world.  Bless our worship that it may be pleasing
          unto you, and bless us that we may prove to be your
          faithful servants.  Amen.

SONG:     A Candle is burning, a candle of peace,
          a candle to signal that conflict must cease:
          for Jesus is coming to show us the way;
          a message of peace humbly laid in the hay.
          
RETURN TO YOUR SEATS AS SONG IS SUNG   


THE CANDLES OF ADVENT - YEAR A
THE THIRD SUNDAY OF ADVENT: WHITE GIFT SUNDAY - JOY

INTROIT    O Come, O Come, Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel,
           that mourns in lonely exile here, until the Son of God appear.
           Rejoice!  Rejoice!  Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

VOICE     - Today is the third Sunday of Advent - the Sunday of Joy.

VOICE     - Our joy is in God and in his son Jesus Christ.  Like
          peace, joy is a gift from God.  It overtakes us and fills
          us when we remember what God has done and what he has
          promised to do.

VOICE     - We light this candle today to remind us that Christ
          came, and  is coming, so that all people might have a
          rich and abundant life.  We thank God for the hope he
          gives us, for the peace he bestows, and for the joy he
          pours into our hearts.

Light the First, Second, and Third Candle

VOICE     - Let us pray -- O God of Joy, Emmanuel, send your light
          into our hearts at this time.  Help us to be ready for
          the time of Christ's appearing.  Fix our hearts and our
          minds upon those things you have done and those you have
          promised to do that we may have the joy you have
          promised.  As we worship you, strengthen us so that we
          may always do your will and so bless you and the world
          you have made.  Amen.

SONG      A candle is burning, a candle of joy.
          A candle to welcome brave Mary's new boy.
          Our hearts fill with wonder, and eyes light and glow
          as joy brightens winter like sunshine on snow.

RETURN TO YOUR SEATS AS SONG IS SUNG

THE CANDLES OF ADVENT - YEAR A
THE FOURTH SUNDAY OF ADVENT: LOVE

INTROIT   O Come, O Come, Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel,
          that mourns in lonely exile here, until the Son of God appear.
          Rejoice!  Rejoice!  Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel. 

VOICE     - Today is the fourth Sunday of Advent, the Sunday of
          Love.

VOICE     - Jesus shows us God's perfect love.  He is God's perfect
          love in human form.  Those who believe in him and live in
          him, live in love.  Love transforms and perfects all
          things.  It never ends.

VOICE     We light this candle today to remind us that God is love. 
          We thank God for hope he gives us, for the peace he
          bestows, for the joy he pours into our hearts, and for
          the love that redeems us and shows us the way.

Light the First, Second, Third and Fourth Candle

VOICE     - Let us pray -- O God of Love, Emmanuel, send your light
          into our hearts at this time.  Help us to be ready for
          the time of Christ's appearing.  Grant that we may so
          dwell in him that his perfect love fills our entire
          being.  Make our worship a time in which we celebrate
          your love and are made ready to show that love to the
          whole world - both today - and forevermore.  Amen.

SONG      A candle is burning, a candle of love,
          a candle to point us to heaven above,
          A baby for Christmas, a wonderful birth,
          for Jesus is bringing God's love to our earth.

RETURN TO YOUR SEATS AS SONG IS SUNG

THE CANDLES OF CHRISTMAS - YEAR A
THE FIRST SUNDAY AFTER CHRISTMAS

     Please come forward as soon as the Call to Worship
     concludes (as we sing verse one of "Joy To the World"). 
     Divide the speaking and lighting as you see fit.  Do your
     parts, light the candle and then sing with us all "Joy To The
     World".  One of the Candle Lighters will then lead the
     congregation in prayer.  This is the First Sunday After
     Christmas. 

Song      Joy to the world!  The Lord is come: 
          let earth receive her King!   
          Let every heart prepare him room,
          and heaven and nature sing, and heaven and nature sing,
          and heaven, and heaven and nature sing.

VOICE     As we light these candles today, we thank God for hope he
          gives us, for the peace he bestows, for the joy he pours
          into our hearts, and for the love that redeems us and
          shows us the way.

VOICE     We thank God for his gift of Jesus.  We thank him that
          thru  Christ his light has come into the world and made
          it possible for us to see, and in seeing, to rejoice. 
          His  truth, his love, his very self, transforms all who
          receive him.

Light the First, Second, Third, Fourth and Christ Candle

VOICE     Loving God, Emmanuel, we thank you for being with us -
          for sending your Son to walk with us and to lead us. 
          Grant that the hope, the peace, the joy, and the love of
          which we have heard and spoken of throughout Advent may
          be fully realized in us as we worship and serve you
          through Christ Jesus our Lord, this both now, and in the
          new year that comes this night, and forevermore.  Amen.

Song      Joy to the earth!  Saviour reigns: 
          let all their songs employ.
          While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains,
          repeat the sounding joy, repeat the sounding joy
          repeat, repeat the sounding joy.

          Continue with Verses 3 and 4 (Voices United 59)

RETURN TO YOUR SEATS


copyright - Rev. Richard J. Fairchild - Spirit Networks, 1994- 2006

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