Thursday, November 13, 2014

Advent Candles from 2004

Please note that the Unison Prayers in these came from the United Church Bulletin Covers for that year.

Advent Candles 2004
(Note, this liturgy utilized the prayers on the back of the Bulletin covers for Advent 2004)
Advent 1 (November 28, 2004) – The Circle
Reader 1: Today is the first Sunday of Advent, four weeks when we get ready for Christmas. This year, as we light our candles, we will think about some of the parts of our advent wreath.
Reader 2: We begin with the wreath itself. It is a circle. The circle has no beginning or end, which reminds us of God and God’s love.
Reader 1: Our lives are full of circles. Things like the hours of the day or the seasons of the year are circles that keep happening over and over again. We light this candle to celebrate the circles of our lives. (a purple candle is lit)
Reader 2: Let us pray as printed on the back of the bulletin:
Holy God, in this Advent season, may the circles of our love be unbroken, as your love to us is unbroken. Draw us close into your circle, that your church may be a sign of hope, and our doors may be open to new people and new possibilities. We pray in the name of the One who is alive forever: Christ, who is, and was, and is to come. Amen
Advent 2 (December 5, 2004) – The Evergreen
Reader 1: It is the second Sunday of Advent, our time to get ready for Christmas. Last week we lit a candle to celebrate the circles in our lives. (a purple candle is lit)
Reader 2: For us Christmas comes in the middle of the winter. In the winter it can be hard to find signs of growth and life outside. But then we see the evergreens, trees which always look alive and full of growth.
Reader 1: .Out Advent wreath is made up of evergreen branches to remind us that God wants us to be growing all the time. The branches also remind us that there is always room for life. We light this candle to remember God’s gift of life. (another purple candle is lit)
Reader 2: Let us pray as printed on the back of the bulletin:
Everlasting God, as the evergreen is alive in all seasons, may we always be alive to your presence, ever-mindful of the wonders of creation that we find all around us. Help us to find new life in times that seem cold and lifeless. Help us to have hopes for peace in the midst of turmoil and strife; For we pray in the name of Christ, who is alive forever. Amen.
Advent 3 (December 12, 2004) – The Holly
Reader 1: It is the third Sunday of Advent, Christmas is getting closer. Today we will light the third candle in our wreath. Already we have lit candles to remember the circles in our lives, and the continued life shown by evergreen branches (two purple candles are lit)
Reader 2: Sometimes people are sad at Christmas. They may miss someone who has moved away, or they may be remembering Christmases spent with someone who has died. It is too bad but sadness is part of life too.
Reader 1: Holly is something that reminds us that God is with us even in the sad times. Its sharp leaves remind us of the pain we sometimes feel and its berries are red like blood. We light this candle to remember the people who are sad this Christmas. (the pink candle is lit)
Reader 2: Let us pray as printed on the back of the bulletin:
God of Advent, you come to us in our joys and in our sorrows. Even as we rejoice in anticipation of the Chris Child’s birth, we know that this is a life that will lead to a cross. Gather us, hold us, and heal us, as we wait for you in this Advent season. We pray in the name of Jesus, who suffered and died, but who rose again and is alive forever. Amen
Advent 4 (December 19, 2004) – The Candlelight
Reader 1: Already it is the fourth and last Sunday of Advent, Christmas is almost here! Over the last few weeks we have lit candles and talked about the circles in our lives, about the continued life shown by evergreen branches, and about the mixture of joy and sorrow that makes up life symbolized by holly. (two purple candles and the pink candle are lit)
Reader 2: Here in Canada Christmas comes when the nights are the longest. We need extra lights to fill in when the sun goes down.
Reader 1: Long ago people didn’t have electric lights. Instead they used candles and lanterns. It is amazing how bright a candle can seem when there are no other lights around. We light our fourth candle to remind us that God’s light is with us all the time. (the last purple candle is lit)
Reader 2: Let us pray as printed on the back of the bulletin:
God of light, we give thanks for your gift of love – Jesus, the Light of the World. As the light of a candle’s flame fills an entire room, may your love fill our hearts and our lives. We pray in the name of Jesus, whose light is with us always. Amen.

Christmas Eve (December 24, 2004)
Reader 1: Finally, after all our waiting and preparing, the time has come. It is Christmas at last. Tonight we will light the last candle in our wreath.
Reader 2: So far we have lit candles to remind us of the circles in our lives, of the hope for continued life shown by evergreen branches, of the mixture of joy and sorrow that is part of life shown by holly, and of the light God brings to our lives. (all four candles are lit).
Reader 1: Tonight we light the candle at the center of our wreath. Just as Jesus birth is at the center of our Christmas, so this candle reminds us to keep Jesus teaching and love in the center of our lives (center candle is lit)

Reader 2: Let us pray, as printed in the bulletin:
God of promises and candlelight, tonight we wait with anxious hearts for the birth of a baby. Help us make room amidst all the hustle and bustle of the night to put the baby in the middle. We give thanks that he is born, the Prince of Peace. May his love always be in the center of our hearts, may that center guide our actions. We pray in the name of the baby in the manger, Jesus. Amen


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