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

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The following contains a litany for each Sunday of Advent and for Christmas Eve. "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 lives in Ottawa, Canada and is Director of Music at Southminster United Church. She is delighted to share the song with you.

Folk sometimes ask about the Advent Candle Wreath itself and what it means. This year's candle lighting includes some explanation of the wreath - but more is found here. 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 C
THE FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT: HOPE

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. 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.

VOICE     - Today is the first Sunday of Advent.  Advent means
          "coming" and in this season we prepare for the coming of
          Christ.  One of the ways we prepare for his coming is by
          making an Advent wreath and lighting its candles to
          remind us of the gifts Christ brings to the world.

VOICE     - The Advent wreath includes many symbols to help us
          think about Christ and his gifts.  The wreath itself is
          in the shape of a circle.  A circle has no beginning and
          no end.  This reminds us that there is no beginning and
          no end to God and that God's love and caring are forever.

VOICE     - The light from the candles - which grows stronger each
          Sunday in Advent, reminds us that Jesus is the light of
          the world.

VOICE     - Today we light the candle of hope.  The people of
          Israel hoped in God's promises and were not disappointed. 
          Again and again God delivered Israel from its enemies. 
          We too have the same experience of salvation.  That is
          why we believe in God's promise to send Jesus to us once
          again to judge the world and establish his kingdom
          forever upon the earth.   (a person lights the candle)

VOICE     - Hope is like a light shining in a dark place.  As we
          look at the light of this candle we celebrate the hope we
          have in Jesus Christ.

VOICE     - Let us pray:  Thank you God for the hope you give us. 
          We ask that as we wait for all your promises to come
          true, and for Christ to come again, that you would remain
          present with us.  Help us today, and everyday to worship
          you, to hear your word, and to do your will by sharing
          your hope with each other.  We ask it in the name of the
          one who was born in Bethlehem.  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 C
THE SECOND SUNDAY OF ADVENT: PEACE

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. 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.

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, who was born in Bethlehem, will
          come again to fulfil 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. 
          Peace is a word that we hear a lot.  It is one of the
          things that we hope for.  Christ brought peace when he
          first came to us and he will bring everlasting peace when
          he comes again.

VOICE     - The prophet Isaiah called Christ "the Prince of Peace". 
          When Jesus came he taught people the importance of being
          peace makers.  He said that those who make peace shall be
          called the children of God.

VOICE     - We light the candle of peace to remind us that Jesus is
          the Prince of Peace and that through him peace is found. 
          (a person lights the candle of peace)

VOICE     - Peace is like a light shining in a dark place.  As we
          look at this candle we celebrate the peace we find in
          Jesus Christ.

VOICE     - Let us pray: Thank you God for the peace you give us. 
          We ask that as we wait for all your promises to come
          true, and for Christ to come again, that you would remain
          present with us.  Help us today, and everyday to worship
          you, to hear your word, and to do your will by sharing
          your peace with each other.  We ask it in the name of the
          one who was born in Bethlehem.  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

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 C
THE THIRD SUNDAY OF ADVENT: WHITE GIFT SUNDAY - JOY

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. 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.

VOICE     - Last Sunday we lit the candle of peace.  We light it
          and the candle of hope again as we remember that Christ,
          who was born in Bethlehem, will come again to judge the
          world and bring it everlasting peace.  (a person lights
          the candles of hope, and peace.)

VOICE     - The third candle of Advent is the Candle of Joy.  When
          the angel Gabriel told Mary that a special child would be
          born to her she was filled with joy.  She sang a song
          that began with the words: "My soul magnifies the Lord,
          my spirit rejoices in God my saviour.

VOICE     - Just as the birth of Jesus gave great joy to his
          mother, so his presence in the world gave joy to those
          who had none before.  He healed them and gave them hope
          and peace when they believed in him.  From hope, peace,
          and love grows joy. 

VOICE     - We light the candle of joy to remind us that when Jesus
          is born in us we have joy and that through him there will
          be everlasting joy on earth.  (a person lights the candle
          of joy)

VOICE     - Joy is like a light shining in a dark place.  As we
          look at this candle we celebrate the joy we find in Jesus
          Christ.

VOICE     - Let us pray: Thank you God for the joy you give us.  We
          ask that as we wait for all your promises to come true,
          and for Christ to come again, that you would remain
          present with us.  Help us today, and everyday to worship
          you, to hear your word, and to do your will by sharing
          your joy with each other.  We ask it in the name of the
          one who was born in Bethlehem.  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

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 C
THE FOURTH SUNDAY OF ADVENT: LOVE

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. 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.

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, who was born in Bethlehem, will come again to
          fulfil all of God's promises 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. 
          God's love is a perfect love.  It holds nothing back. 
          God, in love, gives us everything we need to live a life
          of hope and peace.

VOICE     - 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."  Jesus shows us God's
          perfect love.

VOICE     - This is what love is like: 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.

VOICE     - Love never ends.  We light the candle of love to remind
          us that Jesus brings us God's love and shows us how to
          love others.   (a person lights the candle of love)

VOICE     - Love is like a light shining in a dark place.  As we
          look at this candle we celebrate the love we find in
          Jesus Christ.

VOICE     - Let us pray: Thank you God for the love you give us. 
          We ask that as we wait for all your promises to come
          true, and for Christ to come again, that you would remain
          present with us.  Help us today, and everyday to worship
          you, to hear your word, and to do your will by sharing
          your love with each other.  We ask it in the name of the
          one who was born in Bethlehem.  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

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


CHRISTMAS EVE CANDLE-LIGHTING YEAR C

This is taken from the Christmas Eve Bulletin for Year C. A group can split the Leaders lines into separate parts and then light all four candles and the Christ candle - or the presider can lead and do all or part of the lighting.

* Processional Carol: O Come All Ye Faithful (VU 60 1-3)

Words of Welcome & Lighting of the Candles:
L:	The Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, 
	and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
P:	And also with you.
L:	Jesus Christ, the son of Mary, the son of God is born this night.
P:	God's word has been made flesh among us.
L:	The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light.  
P:	Those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness - 
	on them a light has shined.
L:	You, O Lord, have multiplied the nation.  You have increased its joy.
	For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, 
	and the government shall be upon his shoulder.
P:	His name shall be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, 
	Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
L:	He is also called Emmanuel, for in him God is with us.
     
	............... (As the Candles are lit all sing)...............

	We honour Messiah with Christ candle's flame
	our Christmas Eve candles glad tidings proclaim.
	O Come all you faithful, rejoice in this night,
	as God comes among us, the Christian's true light.	
	            (Verse five of "A Candle Is Burning" from Voices United #6)
        
Unison Prayer
L:	Let us Pray...
P:	Eternal God, this holy night is radiant with the brilliance 
	of your one true light.  May that light illuminate our hearts 
	and shine in our words and deeds.  May the hope, the peace, 
	the joy, and the love represented by the birth in Bethlehem this night 
	fill our lives and become part of all that we say and do.  
	May we share the divine life of your son Jesus Christ, 
	even as he humbled himself to share our humanity.  Amen.
      
* Carol: It Came Upon The Midnight Clear (VU 44 1-2)


copyright	- Rev. Richard J. Fairchild - Spirit Networks, 1997 - 2006
                  use only with proper acknowledgement

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