This year we have a home-brewed set of Advent Candle liturgies. Expand the post to read them (all 5 are in the post so it will be long)
1st Sunday December 2 – Christmas is waiting and hope
Reader 1: Isn’t it Christmas yet? I’ve been waiting SO LONG
Reader 2: Not yet. Today is only the first Sunday of Advent. That means there are three more Sundays before Christmas.
Reader 1: 3 more weeks! Oh Christmas will never get here! I can hardly wait until it comes. I just get so excited when I think about what presents I will get.
Reader 2: Don’t worry, it will come soon enough. Besides, sometimes waiting for something before you get it makes it more special and exciting.
Reader 1: But I want it to be Christmas NOW!
Reader 2: You’ll just have to wait. Have you thought about what you want for Christmas?
Reader 1: Oh yeah. I want…
Reader 2: (interrupting) Wait, don’t tell me. I have another idea.
Reader 1: What?
Reader 2: Well it is time to light the first Advent Candle. What do you do when you blow out your birthday candles?
Reader 1: I make a wish
Reader 2: Well how bout, while we light the first Advent candle we all take a moment of quiet to think about what we hope happens this Christmas? Not just presents but all the things we hope for.
Reader 1: OK
Reader 2: (lights a purple candle then both readers return to their seats in silence)
2nd Sunday December 9 – Christmas is life-changing
Reader 1: You know there’s something about Christmas that I always find unsettling.
Reader 2: What do you mean?
Reader 1: I don’t really know. I just keep getting the sense that something big is about to happen, something that will change everything.
Reader 2: I don’t get it. Christmas is just Christmas. What could be about to happen?
Reader 1: Well I guess I think about when I became a parent. Everything was different from then on. I keep thinking about Mary and how this story changed her life.
Reader 2: But why would that mean your life would change?
Reader 1: It just reminds me of the possibilities. That’s it I guess. I think about Mary and her baby and I remember the possibilities of life. So many things are possible.
Reader 2: So the changes you think about could be a good thing?
Reader 1: Of course, but when changes happen then things are different. And well that is always a little unsettling. It can be good changes but different is different.
Reader 2: So what changes do you think will be coming this Christmas?
Reader 1: I don’t know, we never really know until they happen.
Reader 2: I wonder what next year will bring…
Reader 1: Well let’s think about what might happen and what we want to happen while we light the Advent candles. (readers light 2 purple candles then sit down in silence)
3rd Sunday December 16 – Christmas is carols and children
Reader 1: Do you know what my favourite part of Christmas is?
Reader 2: The chocolate?
Reader 1: No, watching all the kids get excited. I remember being so excited about what I was going to get and playing in the snow and unwrapping presents. You know I miss that a little bit.
Reader 2: Why do you miss it? Don’t you get excited anymore?
Reader 1: Well it isn’t the same as when I was young
Reader 2: Oh great, here we go again with the “Back when I was your age…”
Reader 1: That isn’t what I mean. I mean that there is something about Christmas that just goes with childhood. Now it isn’t as exciting as I remember it.
Reader 2: Well my favourite part about Christmas is…um…
Reader 1: the chocolate?
Reader 2: Well sort of, you know all the treats I get to eat. But really I like the music. I mean when else do we sing about red-nosed animals and talking snowmen and fat men on your roof?
Reader 1: And stars and angels and shepherds and a baby in a stable too right?
Reader 2: Well yeah, if you want to get all religious about it. But there are so many songs to sing right now. And I love to sing. We don’t sing very much any other time of the year.
Reader 1: You know, you’re right. I like the singing too. But I prefer to sing the Christmas carols from church, so yeah I will get religious about it.
Reader 2: I think we’re supposed to light some candles now.
Reader 1: Yep. Say what do you think those people out there like the most about Christmas?
Reader 2: Maybe they could think about that while we light the candles? (readers light 2 purple candles and the pink candle then return to their seats in silence)
4th Sunday December 23 – Christmas is chaos and calm
Reader 1: (carries a calendar) Let’s see, Monday is the recital, Wednesday afternoon is the school Christmas concert, Tuesday night is choir practice, Friday is the office party…(phone rings) Hello?
Reader 2: (standing opposite, holding a phone) Hi _____ I was wondering if you wanted to come carolling next Saturday?
Reader 1: No way. I just can’t do one more thing. I don’t know if I am coming or going as it is. I am not even sure what day it is. And I have to finish my shopping, and wrap the gifts and do some more baking
Reader 2: Relax. You know you really are doing too much. You need to take it a bit easier. How can you enjoy Christmas like that?
Reader 1: Relax? How can you be so calm? Life is just too busy. Maybe I will be caught up in time to celebrate Ukrainian Christmas.
Reader 2: Well I just got tired of running around like crazy throughout December. So I decided to do less baking, less shopping, and less “stuff”. Christmas still gets chaotic with all the kids and all the excitement but I make myself find the calm times as well
Reader 1: I should try that. Thanks.
Reader 2: I have an idea. Light some candles. And while they are being lit take deep breaths to help you relax. Then just sit for a moment in quiet.
Reader 1: I’ll try that. Talk to you later. (both “hang up” and then Reader 1 lights all 4 candles of the wreath, then both readers return to their seats in silence)
Christmas Eve – Christmas is light in the darkness
Reader 1: I hate this time of year!
Reader 2: What, you mean Christmas?
Reader 1: No, I love Christmas I hate the end of December. The sun goes down so early and comes up so late.
Reader 2: Well sure, but all that darkness means we can see the Christmas lights so much better. And did you see the full moon last night? That was awesome.
Reader 1: I guess so. It’s just that all the darkness makes me feel kind of depressed. And then with all the bad news we get these days it just makes it worse. Dark all around. I guess it makes it harder for me to feel joyful.
Reader 2: OK, but do you know what my favourite part about Christmas is?
Reader 1: The presents
Reader 2: Well after the presents. It is those lights people put out. Even the candles we light. All those ways we find to fill up the darkness.
Reader 1: But it is still dark. It is dark when we get up, dark when we have supper. It is dark most of the time.
Reader 2: So? Haven’t you ever noticed that it is easiest to see lights when it is dark? Even these little candle flames (lights the 4 candles of the Advent wreath) give off a lot of light when everything around them is dark.
Reader 1: You’re right. And look how they dance, like they are happy to be shining.
Reader 2: I think Christmas is that thing that reminds us that there is always light, even on these long cold nights.
Reader 1: Maybe. Anyway, while we light that middle candle why don’t we stop and think about the ways we can fight the darkness we hear about all the time. (light middle candle, return to seats in silence)