Summary: Simple candlelight service for incorporating the Advent Wreath for non-liturgical/non-traditional denominations. This version targets single adults in the area of Hope but can be modified for the best use of your particular congregation.
"O Come All Ye Faithful" - vv 1, 2, & 3
The Advent Wreath
The use of the advent wreath goes back many generations. The term is derived from the Latin word ad ventum, meaning "to come". Though different worship traditions give different symbolic meaning to the candles, we will allow them to represent the various characters of the nativity scene. When the wreath is used in weekly worship, a candle is lit with its meaning being shared with the congregation. Each week an additional candle is lighted until Christmas Day.
The Candle of the Prophets
Isaiah 11:1-3; 9:6-7; 7:14
This first candle is the candle of Hope. For years the people of Israel lived under the authority of other governments, yet they always had hope that one day God would send a Redeemer to free them from bondage.
Today many around us still have a need of hope in their lives. Some have faced defeat in a downsizing corporate world or the uncertainty of employment, while others exist in a state of loneliness wondering if God has forgotten about our desire for a mate. But, God promises us an abundant life through Jesus Christ, Christ is our hope.
Carol of Hope "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel"
The Candle of the Angels
This candle, representing the Angels also reminds us of Peace, for peace was the message which the angels spoke. Though the angel himself did not bring peace, he referred to the peace which we all can experience through a right relationship with God through Christ Jesus. When we receive his word, we can know peace.
Carol of Peace "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing"
The Candle of the Shepherds
The Shepherd Candle refers to Joy. After hearing the message of the angels, the shepherds were filled with joy. They realized that God had now fulfilled his promise of a savior. This indeed was good news as they had waited all their lives for a moment such as this. The natural response to this joy was to go and to share the good news with all whom they came in contact.
Even today after coming to Christ and embracing his life as our own, there is a desire to share the good news with others; for he is our joy.
Carol of Joy "The First Noel"
The Candle of the Magi
The fourth candle symbolizes the offering of Praise associated with the gifts presented at Jesus’ birth. The Magi, who were astrologers from an eastern land, observed a different star in the heavens. They committed to follow the star and to seek it’s meaning. Though these men were intelligent by human standards, they displayed their true wisdom in seeking the Christ child and in humbling themselves before him as an act of praise and worship.
Today, wise men still seek the Son of God; laying aside those things which would prevent authentic worship. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of all wisdom. Let all that have breath, praise the Lord!
Carol of Praise "We Three Kings"
The Candle of the Christ Child
The final candle stands for the Christ Child. This candle represents the culmination of the season, for it is only through Christ that we find the elements of hope, peace, joy and true wisdom. Though it is in Jesus we find all of these, we also find love. In a commercialized world of frantic gift buying and giving, we often find ourselves feeling somewhat hopeless, restless, frustrated and confused: just the opposite of what Christmas is all about. Jesus came that we might have life and to have it more abundantly.
Carol of Love "Silent Night, Holy Night"
Call to Service "Joy to the World"