Advent Candle Lighting Litany

Advent 1
One: Have you ever sat outside, on a moonless night,
watching the sun go down?
There’s this feeling, that when the sun finally disappears,
it’s going to be pitch black.
In some ways, it’s true –
the warm dark surrounds and holds us safe.
Two: Then, when you least expect it,
you see a point of light, twinkling in the night sky.
A pin-prick of brightness appears,
adding a moment to the night-sky.

One: And then, as you open your eyes,
you see another, and another, and another,
until the sky is glowing,
the night and the starlight joined.
Two: In that moment, before darkness comforts –
All: our hearts beat,
waiting for what comes next.

Two: In that moment, before the first light shines –
All: our hearts beat,
waiting for what comes next.

One: In this moment, as we prepare our lives
for the story of the Christ-child’s birth –
All: our hearts beat,
waiting for what comes next.

One: In all moment, as we celebrate
the presence of the Holy One,
alive in our lives!
All: Our hearts beat,
waiting for what comes next.

(The first Advent candle is lit.)
Two: In this moment, in all moments,
we ask God –

All: Help us to wait, when we need to wait.
Help us to act, when we need to act.
Help us to live, as you want us to live,
today and forevermore!

Advent 2
1: I have a dream.
2: I have a dream.
3: I have a dream.
1,2,3: That one day all Creation
will live together as one.
1: Wait a minute!
That’s my dream!
2: No. It’s my dream!
3: You’re both wrong – it’s my dream.
1: That the strong will care for the weak;
2: and that nations will work to help all;
3: and that a child’s voice,
every child’s cry,
will call us to live justice and peace.
1,2,3: That’s MY dream!
All: That’s God’s dream.
That’s God’s hope.
That’s God’s vision for all.

4: (A child reads Isaiah 11.1-9)
Hear the witness of God’s people.
All: Thanks be to God!
Advent Candles 1 & 2 are lit.
4: That’s God’s dream.
All: That’s God’s dream.
That’s God’s hope.
That’s God’s vision for all.

4: God of all life, God of all love –
All: help us to see your vision.
Help us to be your vision.
Help us to live your love –
in this place,
in all places.

Advent 3
1: I’ve looked in the manger.
I’ve looked in the creche.
I’ve looked on the mountain tops,
and in the valleys.
I’ve looked in the largest cities
and in the smallest towns.
I guess I’ll have to keep on searching.
2: Whatever are you looking for?
1: The Christ. The Messiah. The Anointed One.
The One whose supposed to help me make sense
out of this senseless world.
The One whose supposed to bring peace.
2: Maybe, rather than looking just out there –
All: You need to look inside, too.
1: Inside?
All: Inside your heart and mind and soul.
1: Inside?
2: The Christ does meet us,
sometimes when we’re looking,
and sometimes when we’re not –
visible in the rush of the wind,
in the laughter of a child,
in the justice-seeking of an elder,
in the challenge of a youth.
Perhaps, if you look, you’ll find the Christ inside you.

1: But how can I be sure?
2: John the Baptizer wasn’t sure.
He had his disciples go and ask.
Some of Jesus’ disciples knew right away.
Some of Jesus’ disciples never quite got it.
Sometimes, we have to trust that even if we aren’t sure –

All: In life, in death,
in life beyond death,
you, God, are with us.
We give you thanks
that  we are never, ever, alone!
Thanks be to God!

2: Thanks be to God.
(Lighting Candles 1, 2, and 3)
1: Thanks be to God.

Advent 4
1: It’s Christmas!
2: It’s Christmas!
3: It’s Christmas!
All: How can you tell?
1: The tree is up.
2: The lights are hung.
3: The malls are full.
All: But why does that mean it’s Christmas?
1: Pardon me?
2: I don’t understand!
3: These are the things that make Christmas, Christmas!
All: No, they’re not.
2: I don’t want to understand.
3: Don’t be a Grinch!
All: But they’re not the things that make Christmas,  Christmas.
1: But what would Christmas be without the tree,
2: without the lights,
3: without the shopping-malls.
All: Christmas would be the same as every other day.
1: Exactly!
2: Exactly!
3: Bor-ing!
All: What would every other day be like,
if we saw it as a day
to remember the Christ-child’s birth?
If we lived it in celebration of his love?
If we remembered that every day
is Christ’s day, too?

1: (lighting a candle) If we lived in expectant hope.
2: (lighting a candle) If we lived God’s dream.
3: (lighting a candle) If we lived, seeing Christ in everyone we meet?
4: If we lived, knowing that every day,
is Christ’s birth day.
All: It would change the world!
Tonight is the night we celebrate –
Christ alive in the world.
Alleluia. Alleluia! ALLELUIA!

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