Anticipation and Hope
According to present usage, Advent is a period beginning with the Sunday nearest to the feast of Saint Andrew the Apostle (November 30) and embracing four Sundays. The first Sunday may be as early as November 27, and then Advent has twenty-eight days, or as late as December 3, giving the season only twenty-one days.
With Advent the ecclesiastical year begins in the Western churches. During this time the faithful are admonished
to prepare themselves worthily to celebrate the anniversary of the Lord's coming into the world as the incarnate God of love,
thus to make their souls fitting abodes for the Redeemer coming in Holy Communion and through grace, and
thereby to make themselves ready for His final coming as judge, at death and at the end of the world.
Father, all powerful and ever-living God, we do well always and everywhere to give you thanks through Jesus Christ our Lord.
When he humbled himself to come among us, he fulfilled the plan you formed long ago and opened for us the way to salvation.
Now we watch for the day, hoping that the salvation promised us will be ours when Christ will come again in his glory.
And so, with all the choirs of angels in heaven we proclaim your glory and join in their unending hymn of praise:
Holy, holy, holy Lord,
God of power and might,
heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosana in the highest.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord
Hosana in the highest.
Sunday - December 3, 2023
First Sunday of the Advent
The first Candle is lit on the first Sunday of Advent, shortly after November 30. It is called the Prophecy Candle and reminds us that Jesus' coming was prophesied hundreds of years before He was born. The candle's purple color represents Christ's royalty as the King of Kings. Suggested Bible Reading: Isaiah 9:2-6 and Luke 1:30-35
Prayer as we light the first purple Advent Candle - the Candle of Hope
(The Patriarchs, Abraham, the Old Testament Ancestors of Jesus)
Stir up thy power, O Lord, and come, that by thy protection we may be rescued from the dangers that beset us through our sins; and be a Redeemer to deliver us; Who livest and reignest with God the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end.
Sunday - December 10, 2023
Second Sunday of the Advent
The second candle, lit on the second Sunday of advent along with the first candle, is the Bethlehem candle, reminding us that Jesus was born in Bethlehem. It too is purple, reminding us that it was a King Who was born in the manger. Suggested Bible reading: Micah 5:2 and Luke 2:1-7
Prayer as we light the second purple Advent Candle - The Candle of Peace
(The prophets who foretold the birth of Jesus)
Stir up our hearts, O Lord, to prepare the paths of thine Only-begotten Son: that we may worthily serve thee with hearts purified by His coming: Who livest and reignest with God the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end.
Third Sunday of the Advent
(John The Baptist)
Sunday - December 24, 2023
Fourth Sunday of the Advent
The fourth candle, lit on the fourth Sunday of advent, is the Angel's candle. As we light this flame, we are reminded of the heavenly hosts that proclaimed Christ's arrival with "Behold, I bring unto you good tiding of great joy!" The Angel candle is also purple, reminding us that it was a King's birth the angels were announcing. Suggested Bible Reading: Ezekiel 34:23, Luke 2:15-20 and John 10:11
Prayer as we light all fourth Advent Candles - The Candle of Joy (Pink candle)
(Mary the Mother of Jesus)
Thank you God for the joy you give us. We ask that as we wait for all your promises to come true, and for Christ to come again, that you would remain present with us. Help us today, and everyday to worship you, to hear your word, and to do your will by sharing your joy with each other. We ask it in the name of the one who was born in Bethlehem.
Last Candle Now we light our last candle to remember the birth of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. As the prophets promised so long ago, you have come to us once again; and with the shepherds, we are filled with wonder and amazement.
Some Protestants, mostly Lutherans, will additionally light a fifth candle located in the center of the wreath on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.
The “Christ Candle” is the large white candle in the middle of an Advent wreath.
Lord, you come as a tiny, fragile baby; yet we know that you are God and you are with us. May the flame of this candle remind us that you are the light of the world and that if we follow you, we will never walk in darkness, but will have the true light of life. Come,
Lord Jesus, come.