Sunday, December 6, 2009


A few months go, I asked our pastor if we would be doing an Advent wreath this year. We've done it in the past, so I was hoping it was on schedule this year, too. He told me he wasn't planning on it, but that we could totally do it if I wanted to. I answered emphatically that YES! I DO! and he then told me I was more than welcome to completely be in charge of it.

He's so sweet, really. :)

But, really, I was elated and he readily jumped on board. We are by no means a liturgical or "high" church, so I knew I had some wiggle room when it came to writing the readings for each week and also when it came to assembling the wreath. And, he ended up creating his sermon series on the weeks of Advent, which was great. Today we did our first reading (which he made ME do on stage, which I don't exactly love, even though I'm on the worship team rotation and I'm on stage frequently ... but I usually have a music stand and a keyboard to hide behind!). So, I got up there, read the reading, said a prayer, and that was that. And it actually went well. Our pastor lit the candle.

In the past, I've shared Advent readings on my blogs every Sunday, so I think I will do that again this year. I hope you don't mind.

But, before I share, I want to mention that I do know that this week is technically the second week in Advent, not the first. We're starting a week late, which, in church tradition, could sound kind of absurd. But, as I mentioned, we are not a liturgical church that follows a specific church calendar and starting this week worked better for us, so that's what we did. But, I have wonderfully close friends who do attend high churches and take liturgy very seriously, so I want to make sure and emphasize that I am not trying to offend anyone or act nonchalant about doing Advent one week behind. I realize that could come across as irreverent to some, and while I don't believe the purpose of Advent is to be legalistic, I do want to acknowledge that I realize that we are starting a week later than the traditional church calendar. We will be lighting the fourth candle and the Christmas candle at the Christmas Eve service, together, to make up for the lost week. Before my reading this morning, I was sure to say, "Today we are celebrating the first Sunday in Advent" rather than "Today IS the first Sunday in Advent", since I knew that was not true. Anyway.

Just a small disclaimer. :) Also, I wrote the reading for this week, but the prayer was taken from a book of prayer. It said what I wanted to say, but better than I could say it, so I used it. I loved it.

Here you go.

The purpose of Advent is to draw our hearts towards the celebration and significance of the miracle of the birth of Christ. We pause to prepare our minds, attitudes, and our hearts in anticipation of Christmas morning—and in anticipation that Christ will come again. In the midst of the chaos surrounding this holiday, we stop, still our bodies, and listen, until all is silent … and in the silence we strain to hear it—the cry of a newborn in the darkness. And in the quiet we absorb the miracle and remember that God pierced the stillness and shook the earth through that tiny cry. As the cry pierced the stillness, God’s light pierced the darkness, and we see that light as we light each candle.

Today we will be lighting the candle of Hope.

Isaiah 7:14 “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.”

As the patriarchs of old hoped for the coming of a Savior, we now hope for Christ’s second coming. We believe in the prophecy fulfilled and believe that Christ will come again. We all hope. We all need hope. In a time of war, economic uncertainty, and a future unknown, we rest in the hope that God will again keep His promise in the coming of a Savior, as He did thousands of years ago.

Let us pray.

Almighty God, give us grace to cast away the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which your son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when He shall come again in His glorious majesty to judge both the living and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through Him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. In Christ's name, Amen.

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