Advent Service

Advent Service - Longing for Light

first-sunday-advent

During Advent, we are called to seek the light of Christ, even in the midst of darkness.  The prophets assure us that the darkness will not overcome us.  They call us to watch for the light.  We are called to wait, to hope, to trust in God.

As we make this Advent journey in faith, we invite God’s light to dispel the darkness.  We ask for the grace to let go of any burdens or barriers that we may carry in our hearts as we search for the light.  We ask for the gift of attentiveness that we may truly see God’s loving presence within and among us.

May our faith be renewed so that we might be light for others.

Let us pray

God who dispels all darkness,

Come to be with us, in each one of our situations;

Come to live among us, live with us and in us;

Come to reconcile us with You and with one another.

God of Light, open our hearts to the mystery of Your love and the invitation of Your grace. 

Let our complacency give way to conversion and our judgments to compassionate acceptance of others.  Turn oppression to justice and transform conflict to peaceful accord.  We ask this in the name of Jesus, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, God forever and ever.  Amen.

Lighting of the Advent Wreath – if you have a candle in your home please light it at this time.

As we light the Advent wreath, we bring to mind all the people and places in the world that are in need of God’s light this day.  (pause)

We bring to mind those places in the world where families and countries are torn apart by conflict, violence or war, and ask for the Light of Peace to break through the darkness. (pause)

We bring to mind all those places in the world where people have been forced from their homes and are separated from their families and ask for the Light of Hope to break through.  (pause)

We bring to mind all those places in the world where people are suffering from disease or illness, and ask for the Light of Healing to break through. (pause)

We bring to mind all those places in the world where people are held captive by poverty, hunger, slavery, prejudice, and isolation and ask for the Light of Freedom and Abundant Life to break through. (pause)

We bring to mind all those places in the world where the Earth and her creatures have not been lovingly cared for and respected and ask for the Light of Love and Holiness to break through. (pause)

May our prayers encircle the world and offer light in places of darkness.  May we work as one body to bring justice for the poor, peace for the afflicted, and healing for our world. (pause)

Enkindle hope in our darkened world and announce the dawn of your kingdom once again. We ask this in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Click the button below to listen to the Gospel

You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

(Pause)

An excerpt from an Angelus Message given by Pope Francis – February 9, 2014

“What does it mean to be Christian?  It means to look to the light, to continue to practice the profession of faith in the light, even when the world is wrapped in night and darkness.

Christians are not exempt from external and even internal shadows. They do not live outside of the world, however; by the grace of Christ received in Baptism they are “oriented” men and women: they do not believe in darkness, but in the dim light of day; they do not succumb to the night, but hope in the dawn; they are not defeated by death, but yearn to rise again; they are not cowered by evil, because they always trust in the infinite possibilities of good. And this is our Christian hope: the light of Jesus, the salvation that Jesus brings to us with his light that saves us from the darkness.

We must carry the light of Christ with the witness of a genuine love.  The Christian must be a luminous person who carries the light, a light that comes from one that is not his or her own, but a gift of God, a gift of Jesus.

I want to ask you now, how do you want to live? As a lamp that is lit, or one that is off?  A Christian carries the light!  He or she is a lit lamp.  Always forward with the light of Jesus!”     (Pause – take a moment to reflect on what you have read)

  • What are the words, phrases, or images that touch into who I am this Advent?
  • Am I being called to be a “lamp lit” in my family, in my workplace, in my community or church, in a particular relationship/situation?
  • How can I be more mindful to go to “the other” on the peripheries, or to care for and respect our common home during this Advent season?
  • During Advent, we light the candles of Hope, Peace, Joy and Love on our wreaths.  Do I need God’s hope, peace, joy or love to shine in a particular area of my life at this time?                                              

Closing Prayer

Oh Immanuel, God with us, truly in this Advent season we celebrate that you are not hidden in some faraway cloud, but you chose to be with us in the blur and mystery of our lives.

In the midst of lists and rush, you are with us as a song that echoes in our minds, as the light of a candle, as a card from a friend. They are signs of your presence.

We turn to you this season and pray that you would birth joy and healing, blessing and hope in us.  Let something wonderful begin in us — something surprising and holy.

May your hand be upon us. Let your light shine around us and within us. Let your love fill us. Let your joy overwhelm us.  Let our longing for you be met on a coming holy night. Immanuel with us once again.  Amen.

(Rev. Jerry Chism

Lyrics:

Blessed are they who are poor in spirit, theirs is the kingdom of God.

Bless us, O Lord, make us poor in spirit; Bless us, O Lord, our God.

Refrain:  We are the light of the world, may our light shine before altogether,

that they may see the good that we do and give glory to God.

 

(Service kindly produced by Donna Wuhrer: Congregation de Notre Dame)

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