Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Advent Candle Liturgy 2009

Advent Candles 2009
Birth Means…
Sung response each week is MV#115 Behold, Behold, I Make All Things New

1st Sunday November 29Birth Means Tearing Down the Old
1: Happy New Year!
2: Um, aren't you about a month early?
1: Pardon?
2: For New Years. It isn't even December yet!
1: Well yeah, but today is the first Sunday of Advent, the beginning of the church year
2: Advent? What's that?
1: Advent is four weeks when we get ready for Christmas.
2: You mean shopping and wrapping and baking?
1: No I mean in the church. It's time when we stop and think about what is happening at Christmas
2: Like what?
1: Well Christmas is a time of newness, God is doing something special
2: Yeah, so?
1: Well, if God is doing something new, then we need to make room for the new thing
2: You mean give something up?
1: Maybe. Sometimes making room for new and exciting things means old things have to go away.
2: I'm not sure I like that. I hate giving things up.
1: Well I never said Christmas was always easy
2: But I thought you meant choosing what gift to buy.
1: I know. You know, one of the things we do in the church is light candles during Advent. So let's light one right now. And while we do that let's sing that song in the bulletin, it talks about being comfortable with the new things.
2: OK. [they light one purple candle and go sit down while the response is sung twice]

2nd Sunday December 3 Birth Means Re-Evaluating Priorities
1: OK, so we have the office party on Friday, and the school fundraiser Saturday afternoon, and the church pageant rehearsal on Saturday morning, and...
2: What are you doing?
1: Oh just trying to figure out when I am going to get everything done. It just seems that there is more stuff than there is time.
2: I know, December is terrible isn't it?
1: Not just December. This is what our calendar is like all year round!
2: I used to have that problem too.
1: Used to? What changed?
2: I did. I decided that we were doing too much so anytime something new started we had to make choices.
1: You mean like one thing in equals one thing out?
2: Sort of, but more than that. We decided that we had to make choices about what was really important to us. We started doing that as soon as we decided to have kids.
1: That long ago??? But why?? I mean we didn't start to feel overwhelmed until a year or two ago, when the kids started getting busy.
2: Oh it wasn't because we were busy. We decided that to be parents meant we needed to re-think what was a priority for our time and energy. We started making different choices about work and non-work activities.
1: Interesting. Anyway, speaking about priorities, what are we doing up here again?
2: Lighting candles. Tell you what, as we light them let's sing that response in the bulletin. And maybe we can think about what choices we might want to re-think this Christmas. [they light 2 purple candles and go sit down while the response is sung]

3rd Sunday December 13Birth Means New Beginnings (Pageant)
1: You know what? Some days I wish I could just start again.
2: You mean with a clean slate?
1: Yeah. Just erase the bad decisions I made and start from scratch.
2: Well you sort of can.
1: NO, no you can't, I've tried. But everything keeps coming back to haunt me.
2: Well it can be hard but a new start is possible. We can choose to try a new way of living. We can in fact get re-born to a new life.
1: You mean get born again? Nope, that type of church isn't for me.
2: Yes I do mean born again, and no I don't mean that type of church.
1: What else can born again mean?
2: Well I think that when we are born we have a clean slate. So if we choose to live in a different way, to not make the same mistakes again it is like being born again. We just get to take the wisdom with us.
1: And make all new mistakes right?
2: Probably.
1: Well I guess it is worth a try.
2: Yep, you don't know until you try. And this is a great time of year to do it.
1: Why?
2: Well it's Christmas. We are talking about a baby being born anyway, what better time to think about New Beginnings?
1: And with New Year's only a week afterward it could be like a New Year's resolution
2: Good idea.
1: Tell you what. While I light these three candles and we sing the response, why don't we all look forward to new beginnings in the future? [they light all three purple candles and then sit down]

4th Sunday December 20Birth Means Future Promises
1: You know what I like most about Christmas?
2: What?
1: There is just such a feeling of hope and promise, almost like anything is possible.
2: I know what you mean. But I don't just feel that at Christmas. I feel the same whenever I see a newborn baby.
1: Me too!
2: I remember hearing once that a new baby is God's way of telling us that life should go on. Even with all the terrible things we hear about it is easy to have hope for the future when you are holding a new baby.
1: So many possibilities. You know, I guess that is why I feel that way at Christmas. After all Christmas is about a new baby.
2: A special baby. If any baby is God saying that there is hope for the world, the Christmas baby must be that and more!
1: I think the Christmas baby isn't only God saying there is hope. I think the Christmas story is God promising to help make that hope a reality.
2: So what do you hope for this Christmas? What promises do you want to see come true? Let's think about those while singing the response in the bulletin [they light all four candles and then sit down]

Christmas EveBirth Means Celebration
1: Merry Christmas!!
2: I know, isn't it great! Christmas is my favourite time of year.
1: Me too. I love the bright lights and the decorations and the singing of carols and the presents and the food...
2: It's all good. I love it all. It's almost like a month long party.
1: And why not? Christmas has a story that is a real reason to celebrate.
2: Really? I never thought about that. Most of the parties I go to never talk about a story, we are too busy having fun.
1: Well think about it. When people have a baby what do they usually do?
2: I guess they are happy, they might get together with friends and family and celebrate. Assuming they aren't too sleep deprived that is.
1: Right. And the Christmas story is about a baby being born.
2: Right...OH! I get it. We celebrate the birth of a baby so that is why we celebrate at Christmas!
1: And what better reason to celebrate. After all any baby gives us hope for the future, a baby is God's clue that life has to go on.
2: And a new born baby is full of promise about what might happen in the future. So yeah, it is a good thing to celebrate. Say if this is a birthday party does that mean these are like birthday candles?
1: Maybe a little bit. But they are also signs of light and hope in the middle of a darker world. As we light them let's all think about our hopes for the future and all those things we have to celebrate this year. [they light all five candles and return to their seats]

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