This is an Advent Candle lighting liturgy for this Lectionary Cycle, Year C. Feel free to use it in church or at home. (All I ask is that if you use this in a public setting that you acknowledge this by saying something like: “Advent Candle Liturgy by Quentin Chin. Used with the author’s permission.”)
First Sunday of Advent (based upon Jeremiah 33:14-16)
The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah. 15 In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David; and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. 16 In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. And this is the name by which it will be called: “The Lord is our righteousness.”
(light the candle)
One: The first candle of Advent reminds us that light chases darkness, that hope overcomes despair, and that love prevails over hate.
Many: We wait in anxious expectation for the kingdom that we have been promised.
One: The kingdom to come will be rooted in justice and righteousness will spread across the land.
Hymn: O Come, O Come Emmanuel (v. 1)
Second Sunday of Advent (based upon Baruch 5:1-9)
Take off the garment of your sorrow and affliction, O Jerusalem, and put on forever the beauty of the glory from God. 2 Put on the robe of the righteousness that comes from God; put on your head the diadem of the glory of the Everlasting; 3 for God will show your splendor everywhere under heaven. 4 For God will give you evermore the name, “Righteous Peace, Godly Glory.” 5 Arise, O Jerusalem, stand upon the height; look toward the east, and see your children gathered from west and east at the word of the Holy One, rejoicing that God has remembered them. 6 For they went out from you on foot, led away by their enemies; but God will bring them back to you, carried in glory, as on a royal throne. 7 For God has ordered that every high mountain and the everlasting hills be made low and the valleys filled up, to make level ground, so that Israel may walk safely in the glory of God. 8 The woods and every fragrant tree have shaded Israel at God’s command. 9 For God will lead Israel with joy, in the light of his glory, with the mercy and righteousness that come from him.
(light the first and second candles)
One: This second candle of Advent enables us to see the splendor everywhere under heaven. We see that the hills have been made low and the valleys raised to make level ground.
Many: That we may walk safely in the glory of God.
One: To get closer to the kingdom and that promise of God’s messenger of peace.
Hymn: O Come, O Come Emmanuel (v. 1 and 2)
Third Sunday of Advent (based upon Zephaniah 3:14-20)
Sing aloud, O daughter Zion; shout, O Israel! Rejoice and exult with all your heart, O daughter Jerusalem! 15 The Lord has taken away the judgments against you, he has turned away your enemies. The king of Israel, the Lord, is in your midst; you shall fear disaster no more. 16 On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem: Do not fear, O Zion; do not let your hands grow weak. 17 The Lord, your God, is in your midst, a warrior who gives victory; he will rejoice over you with gladness, he will renew you in his love; he will exult over you with loud singing 18 as on a day of festival. I will remove disaster from you, so that you will not bear reproach for it. 19 I will deal with all your oppressors at that time. And I will save the lame and gather the outcast, and I will change their shame into praise and renown in all the earth. 20 At that time I will bring you home, at the time when I gather you; for I will make you renowned and praised among all the peoples of the earth, when I restore your fortunes before your eyes, says the Lord.
(light the first, second, and third candles)
One: We light this third candle of Advent in joy for God will save the lame. God will gather the outcasts, raise them up, and make them renown in all the earth.
Many: And praise will be among all the people of the earth.
One: God will restore our fortunes.
Hymn: O Come, O Come Emmanuel (v. 1, 2, and 3)
Fourth Sunday of Advent (based upon Psalm 80:1-7)
Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel,
you who lead Joseph like a flock!
You who are enthroned upon the cherubim, shine forth
before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh.
Stir up your might,
and come to save us!
Restore us, O God;
let your face shine, that we may be saved.
O Lord God of hosts,
how long will you be angry with your people’s prayers?
You have fed them with the bread of tears,
and given them tears to drink in full measure.
You make us the scorn of our neighbors;
our enemies laugh among themselves.
Restore us, O God of hosts;
let your face shine, that we may be saved.
(light the first, second, third, and fourth candles)
One: The gathering light tells us God’s kingdom is close at hand. We light this fourth candle of Advent in anxious anticipation of a new day.
Many: God’s face will shine upon us
One: With favor as we have prepared for the coming of the Christ.
Hymn: O Come, O Come Emmanuel (all verses)
Christmas Eve (based upon Titus 2:11-14)
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all, 12 training us to renounce impiety and worldly passions, and in the present age to live lives that are self-controlled, upright, and godly, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope and the manifestation of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. 14 He it is who gave himself for us that he might redeem us from all iniquity and purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good deeds.
(light all the candles, including the Christ candle)
One: We stand at the threshold of God’s kingdom. We light the Christ candle to remind all people that the day will come when all people will live in God’s reign of peace and justice.
Many: May we do kindness to family, friends, and strangers and walk humbly with God.
One: That we know and fear the Lord for our sake and the sake of this world.
Hymn: Joy to the World