Advent Candle Liturgies: Narrative

‘Tis the season for prophets. While this feels particularly true on the morning after the U.S. presidential election, in fact the season for prophets has been ongoing and building. We’ve been needing prophets to speak against and to actively counter the global rise of xenophobia. We’ve been hearing (and dominant culture is adept at ignoring) prophetic voices in #BlackLivesMatter, in #WaterIsLife, and in other movements for justice.

My colleague Dwayne Royster observes, “those who would be prophets in this generation [must be] not just those who want to give a word but those that will do a work, put their hands to the plow and not look back.”

The Narrative Lectionary for the upcoming Advent season gives us prophetic voices from the biblical text to bolster our own prophetic commitments for the living of these days. The following candle-lighting liturgies are offered for devotional & liturgical use this Advent; please attribute written/printed credit to this website if you adapt these liturgies for use in your faith community.

Advent 1 (November 27): Daniel 6:6-27

ONE: The first Advent candle.
ALL: We light a light against power that craves power.
ONE: We light a light to proclaim the goodness and dominion of God.
ALL: We light a light against our own vain egos and deep fears.
ONE: We light a light for the promise of deliverance.
ALL: The first Advent candle.
ONE: Take courage.

Advent 2 (December 4): Joel 2:12-13 & 28-29

ONE: The second Advent candle.
ALL: We light a light to await God’s coming.
ONE: We light a light with longing for God to set the world trembling.
ALL: We light a light to hold out hope for God’s mercy.
ONE: We light a light for the promise of new dreams and visions by God’s spirit.
ALL: The second Advent candle.
ONE: Prepare your hearts.

Advent 3 (December 11): Isaiah 61:1-11

ONE: The third Advent candle.
ALL: We light a light to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor.
ONE: We light a light to dedicate our work in support of our words.
ALL: We light a light not just to proclaim but to comfort, not only to preach but to provide, not only to bless but to release.
ONE: We light a light to share the labor and the fellowship.
ALL: The third Advent candle.
ONE: Go where you are sent.

Advent 4 (December 18): Luke 1:26-45

ONE: The fourth Advent candle.
ALL: We light a light as we greet one another in God’s name. 
ONE: We light a light so we can recognize and welcome God’s messengers.
ALL: We light a light and we marvel to imagine God’s possibilities.
ONE: We light a light to say “yes” to God’s outrageous call.
ALL: The fourth Advent candle.
ONE: Do not be afraid.

Christmas Eve (December 24): Luke 2:1-14

ONE: At last, the Christ candle.
ALL: We light a light and sing “Glory to God in the highest heaven and peace on earth.”
ONE: We light a light and retell the good news of great joy.
ALL: We light a light and we tremble in awe that God has come.
ONE: We light a light and cast out all fear.
ALL: The Christ candle!
ONE: Rejoice!

Mary-Child

If you’re using the Revised Common Lectionary for this Advent season, find Advent candle liturgies on the Isaiah texts here.