Today, I offer a liturgy for the lighting of the Advent Wreath candles. As I wrote in my blog “The Advent Wreath,” for our family, the lighting of the Advent Wreath and the sharing of the accompanying liturgy around the kitchen table became a central element in our preparation for Christmas. Even now, with our children grown and having children of their own, this remains a central part of our devotional preparation for the coming birth of Christ.
The liturgy is based loosely on an ancient sharing of the Passover meal modified and adopted for Advent. This Friday, I offer a liturgy for use as a family (whether it be one person or many) in preparation for the birth of the Christ child on the third Sunday of Advent. Those wishing to receive the liturgy for the First Sunday in Advent may email my Executive Secretary, Mrs. Pattie Wood, (PattieWood@ctcumc.org) and she will send you the liturgy for the First Sunday.
Bishop Mike Lowry
The Third Sunday of Advent (For use with a Family Advent Wreath) Scripture: Isaiah 35:1-2
(Open by reading the Word of the Lord from the Prophet Isaiah.)
Light three candles as the family says together: “Jesus said, ‘I am the light of the world, he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’”
A child asks: “Why do we light three candles?”
A parent responds: “The first candle reminds us of the hope we have in the Savior’s coming. The second candle reminds us of the love of God given us in the baby Jesus. The third candle shares the joy of the Savior’s birth. The Prophet Isaiah said, “The desert and the dry land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom like the rose [KJV translation].” This is why the candle is often pink. We come to a Bethlehem stable with great joy and celebrate the birth of our Savior in the baby Jesus. May we prepare for Christmas with joy in what God has done and is doing in our lives.
“The desert and the dry land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom like the [rose] crocus. 2 They will burst into bloom, and rejoice with joy and singing. They will receive the glory of Lebanon, the splendor of Carmel and Sharon. They will see the Lord’s glory, the splendor of our God.” (CEB translation)
Read: John 1:6-8, 19-28
Sing: “What Child is This?”
What child is this, who laid to rest, On Mary’s lap is sleeping? Whom angels greet with anthems sweet, While shepherds watch are keeping? This, this is Christ the King, Whom shepherds guard and angels sing; Haste, haste to bring him laud, The babe, the son of Mary.
Prayer: “Lord Jesus, we come to you with joy as we prepare again to celebrate your birth. May praise, laughter, and goodwill fill our hearts and burst forth in sharing. May the songs of this season engulf us with the joy of your presence, care, and all-consuming love. You are indeed the baby Savior and the Lord of all life born among us. With glad hearts and excited minds, we come to the celebration of your birth. Lead us to share your joy, hope and love with those who stand in great need and even greater want during this season. Let the goodness you instill in our heart and minds spill forth in joy for all people in your name and at your coming. Amen.