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CHURCH YEAR - ADVENT WREATH CEREMONIES (3)

 

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ADVENT: INTRODUCTION

 

  • During Advent, we celebrate the coming of God to earth in the birth of Jesus Christ, His coming in the believer’s heart at salvation, and His coming again in power and great glory.
  • Candles remind us that Jesus is the Light of the World.

PURPLE: great joy, royalty; PINK: Love

  • Readings focus on 4 topics:

o PROMISE: Birth of Savior/Messiah/Yahweh; Risen Christ; Return as Judge and Ruler

o LOVE: Love as God loved us; Reach out to others in love; Light the world through love

o JOY: Birth of Savior; Second Coming; Joy of Salvation

o HOPE: Looking for the knowledge (not “wishful thinking”) of Christ’s return

 

ADVENT ONE

 

First Sunday

Reader 1

Today is the first Sunday of Advent, the beginning of the Christian Year. The word “Advent” means "to come toward, to draw near, to approach." During Advent, we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, His coming in the believer’s heart at salvation, and His coming again in power and great glory.

Each Sunday we will light a candle. The white candle in the center represents Christ, the Light of the World. We will light this candle on Christmas Eve.

Reader 2

The first candle is called PROMISE. It reminds us that God promised to send His son Jesus to save us from our sin. People joyfully celebrate Christmas because God gave the world His own Son as the very first Christmas gift. God also promised that Christ would return, His Second Coming. And so we wait and watch for the return of Jesus. And we light a single candle in preparation for that glorious day.

[Light the first candle on the Advent wreath.]

The promise of Christ’s birth is from Jeremiah 33:14‑15

'The days are coming,' declares the LORD, 'when I will fulfill the gracious promise I made to the house of Israel and to the house of Judah. In those days and at that time I will make a righteous Branch sprout from David's line; he will do what is just and right in the land.

In Luke 21, Jesus promises He will return.

There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near. Be always on the watch.

Reader 1

Let us pray. Heavenly Father, thank you for sending your Son Jesus to be our Savior and promising that He will return. Help us prepare our hearts to celebrate His birthday and be watchful for His return. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Second Sunday

READER 1

Today’s prophecy is from Malachi 3:1 and refers to Messiah’s messenger.

See, I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me.

Luke 3:1‑6 is the fulfillment of that prophecy.

The word of God came to John son of Zechariah. He went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. As is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet: "A voice of one calling in the desert, 'Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him. And all mankind will see God's salvation.'

John’s message was that the Christ was coming and people needed to be prepared to meet Him.

READER 2

We will relight the candle of promise.

[Light the first candle on the Advent wreath.]

The second candle is the candle of light. Jesus said to His disciples, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” The light of God’s love is more powerful than the darkness of sin. This candle reminds us that Jesus takes away the fear of darkness of sin and gives us the light of life when we accept Him as our Savior. We can be joyful because we know God has saved us from sin. The Bible says, “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” The candle of light reminds us that the light of God’s love will show in our lives when we let Jesus guide us.

[Light the second candle on the Advent wreath.]

READER 1

Let us pray. Heavenly Father, thank you for sending your Son Jesus Christ, the Light of the World. As the time draws near to the date we celebrate His birth, help us to be more aware that the light of Jesus must shine through us to let the world know the good news of His gospel of eternal life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Third Sunday

 

READER 1

David writes in Psalm 103,

For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD's love is with those who fear him, with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts.

 

From John’s Gospel and letters is the response:

Jesus said, By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.


For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.

 

READER 2

[Light the first two candles on the Advent wreath.]

The third candle of Advent represents love and reminds us of how much God loves each of us. God wants us to love Him and love others. And we will light a candle to help us remember that Jesus is near and His love is all around us.

[Light the third candle.]

READER 1

Let us pray. Heavenly Father, thank you for loving us. We want to show our love for each other every day and in this way we show our love for you. In Jesus name, Amen.

Fourth Sunday

 

READER 1

Hope means expectation based on faith. Hebrews 11:1 says,

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.

Paul writes,

[We have] a faith and knowledge resting on the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time. We wait for the blessed hope--the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope.


And Peter adds,

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.

 

READER 2

[Light the first three candles on the Advent wreath.]

The fourth candle is called the candle of hope. It reminds us of the expectation of eternal life forever with the Lord for those who have accepted Christ as their Savior. Advent is a joyous time to be thankful for God’s saving grace. We celebrate the birth of Jesus only because of His death and resurrection. Watching and waiting this season needs to be focused on the birth of Christ and also on Christ’s return.

[Light the fourth candle.]

READER 1

Let us pray.

Heavenly Father, we thank you again for the gift of your Son. Although He came as a baby, He was Messiah, your promised Savior of the world. Thank you that He came to bring light, love, and hope. Help us to be your witnesses of truth and to share the message of the good news of Jesus Christ. In Jesus name, Amen.

ADVENT TWO

 

Jesus Christ is proclaimed the Son of God and Savior in Creation.

Jesus Christ is proclaimed the Son of God and Savior by the prophets.

Jesus Christ is proclaimed the Son of God and Savior throughout the Bible.

Jesus Christ is proclaimed the Son of God and Savior by John the Baptist.

 

FIRST SUNDAY

Reader 1

In the season of Advent, we prepare for Jesus in our hearts and our home. Jesus was God’s son. He came as a baby. As a man, He died on the cross for your sins and mine. He was buried and rose from the dead. He returned to Heaven. He will come again to take to Heaven only those who have accepted Him as Savior.

Reader 2

Jesus Christ is proclaimed the Son of God and Savior in Creation.

 

Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground."

 

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. Through him all things were made.

 

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created.

 

Reader 1

This candle reminds us that God promised to send His Son to save us from our sin. God also promised that Christ would return, His Second Coming. We wait and watch for the return of Jesus that glorious day. We light this candle of Promise.

[Light the first candle on the Advent wreath.]

Let us pray.

Heavenly Father, we eagerly wait to celebrate the first coming of your Son Jesus into our world, our hearts, and our lives. You promised to send a Savior, and you sent your only Son. Help us to follow Jesus, the promised Messiah/Savior, and the Lord of Creation. We give you thanks and praise. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

SECOND SUNDAY

[Before service, light the first candle on the Advent wreath.]

Reader 1

In the season of Advent, we prepare for Jesus in our hearts and our home. Jesus was God’s son. He came as a baby. As a man, He died on the cross for your sins and mine. He was buried and rose from the dead. He returned to Heaven. He will come again to take to Heaven only those who have accepted Him as Savior.

 

Reader 2

Jesus Christ is proclaimed the Son of God and Savior by the prophets.

 

The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.

 

Jesus took the Twelve aside and told them, "We are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled.

 

Beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.

Reader 1

David wrote in Psalm 103,

For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD's love is with those who fear him, with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts.

Jesus said, By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.

 

This candle of Love reminds us of how much God loves each of us. God wants us to love Him, accept His Son Jesus as our Savior, and love others.

[Light the pink candle on the Advent wreath.]

Let us pray.

Heavenly Father, as we wait to celebrate the Second Coming of our Savior, help us to prepare our hearts and follow your command to love each other. We give you thanks and praise. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

THIRD SUNDAY

[Before service, someone will light one purple and the pink candle on the Advent wreath.]

 

Reader 1

In the season of Advent, we prepare for Jesus in our hearts and our home. Jesus was God’s son. He came as a baby. As a man, He died on the cross for your sins and mine. He was buried and rose from the dead. He returned to Heaven. He will come again to take to Heaven only those who have accepted Him as Savior.

 

Reader 2

Jesus Christ is proclaimed the Son of God and Savior throughout the Bible.

 

I will make your name great, like the names of the greatest men of the earth. My love will never be taken away from you, David. Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever.

 

The angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.

 

After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: "Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb." He who was seated on the throne said, "I am making everything new!" Then he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true."

 

Reader 1

Jesus said to His disciples, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” God’s light is more powerful than the darkness of sin. Jesus gives us the light of life and the joy of salvation when we accept Him as our Savior, so we light this candle of Joy.

[Light the third candle on the Advent wreath.]

Let us pray.

Heavenly Father, we look forward to Christmas and the joy it brings because our Savior, the Light of the world, came at His birth and is coming again. Help us to share this joy of salvation during this Advent season. We give you thanks and praise. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

FOURTH SUNDAY

[Before service, someone will light the first three candles on the Advent wreath.]

 

Reader 1

In the season of Advent, we prepare for Jesus in our hearts and our home. Jesus was God’s son. He came as a baby. As a man, He died on the cross for your sins and mine. He was buried and rose from the dead. He returned to Heaven. He will come again to take to Heaven only those who have accepted Him as Savior.

 

Reader 2

Jesus Christ is proclaimed the Son of God and Savior by John the Baptist.

 

It is written in Isaiah the prophet: "I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way, a voice of one calling in the desert, 'Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.'" And so John came, baptizing in the desert region and preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.

 

The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River. This was his message: "After me will come one more powerful than I, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit."

 

There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.


Reader 1

John’s message was: Messiah/Christ is coming. Be prepared to meet Him. This candle reminds us that Christ is coming again. Those who have accepted Christ as their Savior wait with hope and joy in the expectation of eternal life forever with the Lord. Advent is a joyous time to be thankful for God’s saving grace. We celebrate the birth of Jesus only because of His death and resurrection. In this Advent season, remember the gift of God’s Son and watch and wait for His return.

[Light the fourth candle.]

Let us pray.

Heavenly Father, as we prepare our hearts to remember the special birth of our Savior Jesus Christ, we ask that we be the disciples you intended us to be. Help us to be witnesses to Christ, the Light of the world, as we wait for His return. We give you thanks and praise. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

 

 

ADVENT THREE

 

MESSIAH and ANOINTED are the same word in Hebrew.

The word “Christ” means “the Anointed One.”

In the Old Testament, prophets, priests, and kings were anointed.

Messiah/Christ is a PROPHET, PRIEST, and KING

 

FIRST SUNDAY

Reader 1

MESSIAH and ANOINTED are the same word in Hebrew.

The word “Christ” means “the Anointed One.”

In the Old Testament, prophets, priests, and kings were anointed.

Messiah/Christ is a PROPHET, PRIEST, and KING.

 

JESUS MESSIAH, the Anointed One, said,

This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.

 

Reader 2

Prophets in the Old Testaments represented God to the people.

In the New Testament, JESUS MESSIAH is the Prophet preaching the future kingdom of God and His future death and resurrection.

I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God because that is why I was sent.

 

The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified, and on the third day be raised again. This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day.

 

The crowds were filled with awe and praised God.

‘This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee. A great prophet has appeared among us. God has come to help his people.’

Jesus said to them, ‘Only in his hometown and in his own house is a prophet without honor.’

The Samaritan woman said, ‘Sir, I can see that you are a prophet.’

 

Reader 1

This candle reminds us that Christ was sent by the Father to preach the good news of the kingdom of God, to die for our sins, and be raised in three days. Advent is a joyous time to be thankful for God’s saving grace. We celebrate the birth of JESUS MESSIAH, knowing that by accepting the gift of salvation, we expect eternal life forever with the Lord. In this Advent season, remember the gift of God’s Son and watch and wait for His return.

 

[Reader 2 lights a purple candle.]

Let us pray.

Heavenly Father, as we prepare our hearts to remember the special birth of your Son, we ask that we be the disciples you intended us to be. Help us to be witnesses to Christ, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee, as we wait for His return. Help us to share this joy of salvation during this Advent season. We give you thanks and praise. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

SECOND SUNDAY

[Before service, light a purple candle on the Advent wreath.]

Reader 1

MESSIAH and ANOINTED are the same word in Hebrew.

The word “Christ” means “the Anointed One.”

In the Old Testament, prophets, priests, and kings were anointed.

Messiah/Christ is a PROPHET, PRIEST, and KING.

 

JESUS MESSIAH, the Anointed One, said,

This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms.

 

Reader 2

Priests in the Old Testament represented the people to God. The letter to the Hebrews says:

Every high priest is selected from among men and is appointed to represent them in matters related to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. He is able to deal gently with those who are ignorant and are going astray, since he himself is subject to weakness. This is why he has to offer sacrifices for his own sins, as well as for the sins of the people.

 

In the New Testament, JESUS MESSIAH is the ascended Priest, interceding for the people of God. Reading from the letter to the Hebrews:

Jesus the Son of God has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek. We have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, who has been tempted in every way, just as we are--yet was without sin.

He does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. When this priest offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God.

 

Jesus lives forever. He has a permanent priesthood and always lives to intercede. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

 

Reader 1

This candle reminds us that God promised to send His Son to save us from our sin. God also promised that Christ would return. We wait and watch for His return. We light this candle as a reminder of God’s Promises.

[Reader 2 lights the second purple candle on the Advent wreath.]

Let us pray.

Heavenly Father, we eagerly wait to celebrate the first coming of your one and only Son into our world, our hearts, and our lives. Help us to follow JESUS MESSIAH, our High Priest who intercedes for us at your throne. We give you thanks and praise.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

THIRD SUNDAY

[Before service, light two purple candles on the Advent wreath.]

Reader 1

MESSIAH and ANOINTED are the same word in Hebrew.

The word “Christ” means “the Anointed One.”

In the Old Testament, prophets, priests, and kings were anointed.

Messiah/Christ is a PROPHET, PRIEST, and KING.

 

JESUS MESSIAH, the Anointed One, said,

This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.

 

Reader 2

Isaiah and Zechariah predict the coming of a King.

This is what the LORD says. “Apart from me there is no God. Israel's King and Redeemer who will build the temple of the LORD, and he will be clothed with majesty and will sit and rule on his throne.”

 

In Luke chapter 1, we read,

He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.

 

In the book of Revelation, JESUS MESSIAH is the King who rules and reigns.

They will make war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will overcome them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings.

On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.

 

All four gospels record Pilate’s question and JESUS MESSIAH’s answer.

‘You are a king, then!’ said Pilate. Jesus answered, ‘You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth.’

 

Reader 1

JESUS MESSIAH said to His disciples,

I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

This promise of salvation is one of many promises we can depend on because they are the truth. We have the joy of salvation when we accept JESUS MESSIAH as our King.

[Reader 2 lights the third purple candle on the Advent wreath.]

Let us pray.

Heavenly Father, as we wait to celebrate the birth of the baby Jesus, help us remember that JESUS MESSIAH came to Earth to die for our sins and will eventually rule as the King of Kings. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

FOURTH SUNDAY

[Before service, light the three purple candles on the Advent wreath.]

Reader 1

MESSIAH and ANOINTED are the same word in Hebrew.

The word “Christ” means “the Anointed One.”

In the Old Testament, prophets, priests, and kings were anointed.

Messiah/Christ is a PROPHET, PRIEST, and KING.

 

JESUS MESSIAH, the Anointed One, said,

This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.

 

Reader 2

Jesus Christ is proclaimed the Son of God and Savior throughout the Bible. Isaiah wrote,

Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth. I, even I, am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. Apart from me there is no savior.

 

The Prophet Hosea wrote,

You shall acknowledge no God but me, no Savior except me.

 

David prayed,

You, O God, are my king from of old; you bring salvation upon the earth.

You, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, abounding in love and faithfulness.

 

JESUS MESSIAH, the Anointed One, said

God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

A new command I give you: As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.

 

John wrote,

God is love. We know and rely on the love God has for us. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

 

Reader 1

This candle reminds us that God loves us, wants us to love Him, accept His Son JESUS MESSIAH as our Savior, and love others.

[Reader 2 lights the pink candle on the Advent wreath.]

Let us pray.

Heavenly Father, help us to prepare our hearts for the celebration of the birth of Jesus and wait for His return. JESUS MESSIAH, our Savior, commanded us to love each other. Help us to be faithful and loving disciples. We give you thanks and praise.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.