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Prayer & Worship Resources for Advent



The seasons of Advent and Christmas

See also.. A range of Advent Bible Studies for download  and  A Celtic Advent Liturgy themes

 

celtic preayers Advent and Christmas - Reason for the Season

Advent and Christmas

For most Christians Advent is not just a celebration of a moment in time when a baby was born, but also looks beyond to a time when the Bible tells us that Jesus will come again, not as a weak and vulnerable baby but in power and with authority. The traditional Scripture readings for this time emphasise both the First and Second Coming of Jesus Christ, and our accountability for faithfulness at His coming, judgment on sin and the hope of eternal life.

Advent is also a spiritual journey that Christians take, through the truths of Scripture that point to the birth of Messiah, to a reaffirmation that he has come, is present in the world today and will come again in glory. It mirrors the journey of faith that Christians make after that moment of realisation and acceptance of who Jesus is, in that we take that first step of faith in commitment, continue hopefully to walk the road of faith and increasing understanding, and look forward to our destination, which is to be in his presence forever!

 

Advent Prayer resources for Advent

In this Advent of expectation
draw us together in unity,
that our praise and worship
might echo in these walls
and also through our lives.

In this Advent of expectation
draw us together in mission,
that the hope within
might be the song we sing,
and the melody of our lives.

In this Advent of expectation
draw us together in service,
that the path we follow
might lead us from a stable
to a glimpse of eternity.

(More Advent prayers can be found on this link)


Advent Prayer resources for Christmas

May this eternal truth be always on our hearts
That the God who breathed this world into being
Placed stars into the heavens
And designed a butterfly's wing
Is the God who entrusted his life
to the care of ordinary people
became vulnerable that we might know
how strong is the power of Love
A mystery so deep it is impossible to grasp
A mystery so beautiful it is impossible to ignore.

(More Christmas prayers can be found on this link)


celtic preayers Some Common Advent Themes with Liturgies

Short liturgies that can be used as part of an act of worship, on a variety of Advent themes.

God's People
(words of encouragement from Isaiah 64)

Angels
(The angel visits Zechariah)

The Prophets
(Isaiah 40)

John the Baptist
(John pointing the way to the Saviour)

Hope and Expectation
(1 Cor 1:8,9 & Mark 13:26-27)

Mary
(Following the story in Luke's Gospel)

A 'Celtic' Advent - A slightly different feel to the Advent season, with a distinctive Celtic feel

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Advent Colours of Advent

Traditionally, and certainly within the Catholic church the primary colour of Lent is purple, which reflects the Lenten-style fasting that formed part of the build-up to Christmas in earlier centuries. The colour forms a link between the birth and death of Jesus. On the third Sunday of Advent this changed to pink or rose in anticipation of the end of fasting and the start of rejoicing for the birth of the Saviour (the Sunday is sometimes celebrated as Gaudete Sunday – from the Latin word for ‘rejoice’)

In many Protestant churches the purple has been replaced by blue to distinguish it from Lent (blue being a colour of royalty) and often the fourth Sunday is celebrated with a change to pink to mark the climax of the Advent season.


Advent The Advent Wreath

Most churches have at the heart of their worship an Advent wreath. The origins of the evergreen wreath are ancient and probably pagan, but there is a symbolism with the wreath and its five candles that is useful in retelling the Christmas story.

The circle of greenery reminds us that God is eternal, the Alpha and Omega without beginning or end, and also of the hope we have in God, of newness, renewal and eternal life.

The candles symbolise the light of God entering the world through the birth of Jesus, and the four outer candles represent a period of waiting, perhaps the four centuries between the prophet Malachi (the last book in the Old Testament) and the birth of Jesus. Whilst the light from the candles reminds us that Jesus is the light of the world that comes into the darkness of our it also reminds us that we are called to be a light to the world as we reflect the light of God's love and grace to others.

The centre candle is white and is called the Christ Candle. It is traditionally lit on Christmas Eve or Day where there is a service on these days.

 

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Advent Advent Preaching Themes

Depending upon the tradition to which you belong, the shape of Advent services might follow a similar route year by year or, with liturgical series such as that used by the Anglican Church, follow a three year cycle of readings.

The themes most often used for the four weeks of Advent are Hope, Peace, Joy and Love; or God’s people, the Old Testament Prophets, John the Baptist and Mary. However, the choice of themes is not limited to the usual or comfortable, and with a little forward planning there are many ways in which the approach to Christmas can be tackled imaginatively, and bring out different truths about God's amazing love and Grace.

Below are some of the themes that others have used in their worship during the Advent season, and although you might not feel that some of these readings or weekly themes are appropriate for your own fellowship I would encourage you to be adventurous, not just for the sake of change but because it enables fellowships and congregations to engage in the enfolding story in new ways. Remember, these are only suggestions!

Here then are some suggested themes and readings (if you have other suggestions then email me and I'll add them to the resource:

 

Suggested Advent themes

Hope
Isaiah 9:2

Peace
Isaiah 9:6-7
John 14:27

Joy
Isaiah 65:18
Galatians 5:22-25

Love
Deuteronomy 10:17-19a
John 13:34-35

God’s People
Isaiah 64:1-9

OT Prophets
Jeremiah 33:12-16

John the Baptist
Matthew 3:1-12

Mary
Luke 1:26-38

Waiting
Isaiah 52:7-10

Accepting
Luke 1:26-38

Journeying
Isaiah 55:6-13

Birthing
Luke 2:1-7

(A traditional Carmelite theme)

Expectation
Luke 1:5-17

Bethlehem
Micah 5:2

Angels
Luke 1:26-38

Shepherds
Luke 2:8-20

Expectation
Luke 21: 25-36

Preparation
Luke 1: 68-79

Repentance
Luke 3: 7-18

Rejoice
Luke 1: 39-55

The prophets
Jeremiah 33:12-16

John the Baptist
Matthew 3:1-12

Mary
Luke 1:26-38

Three Kings
Matthew 2:1-12

Expectation
Isaiah 42: 1-9

Annunciation
Luke 1:26-38

Proclamation
Luke 3:7-18

Fulfilment
Luke 21: 25-36

The People with
a Song

Psalm 147:1-3,
12-14

The Song of a Brother and a Sister
Exodus 15:1-21

The Two Songs
of the Big Night

Luke 2:8-10

The Song of Mary Luke 1:46-55

Here Comes God!
Micah 1:2-3

Like a Plowed Field
Micah 3:12

The Poor Man's Ruler
Micah 5:2

The Strong Shepherd Micah 5:4

Anticipation
Isaiah 25:6-26:6

Patience
Romans 8:25

Hope
1 Peter 1:3

Revelation
Hebrews 1:1-4

He Reveals Himself Exodus 3:1-15

He Calls Us for Life
1 Samuel 3:1-10

He Stretches Us Jonah (selected verses)

He Accomplishes Great Things
Luke 1:26-38

Comfort My People! Isaiah 40:1-2

The Straight Highway Isaiah 40:3-5

The Breath of God
Isaiah 40:6-8

God's Good Tidings Isaiah 40:9

Mary's song
Luke 1:46-55

Zechariah's song
Luke 1:67-79

John the Baptist's song
Luke 3:1-18

Angels' song
Luke 2:14

Simeon's song
Luke 2:28-32

Elizabeth
Luke 1:23-25; 39-45; 57-66

Joseph
Matthew 1:18-25

Herod
Matthew 2:1-18

Jesus
John 1:1-18

Coming to Execute Justice,
Isaiah 25:6-26:6

Coming to Forgive Sins,

Ephesians 1:3-14


Coming to Renew Love,
1 John 4:13-16


Coming to Feed the Hungry
John 6:50-51

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celtic preayers An Advent Journey - Practical Praying

I had an email from Jane James who had used some of the prayers from this site along with others to produce a Prayer Journey for her church to use, and as they found it helpful I have included it below as 4 downloads (pdfs)
Aim: to give people a quiet space to reflect on Christmas and its meaning for them and allow them to take something of this into their daily lives.
Advent Journey 1 | Advent Journey 2 | Advent Journey 3 | Advent Journey 4

 


celtic preayers Advent related quotes

The very purpose of Christ's coming into the world was that He might offer up His life as a sacrifice for the sins of men. He came to die. This is the heart of Christmas.
--Rev. Billy Graham


It is Christmas every time you let God love others through you...yes, it is Christmas every time you smile at your brother and offer him your hand.
--Mother Teresa


Were earth a thousand times as fair
Beset with gold and jewels rare
She yet were far too poor to be
A narrow cradle,
Lord, for Thee.
--Martin Luther


"The purpose and cause of the incarnation was that He might illuminate the world by His wisdom and excite it to the love of Himself." -- Peter Abelard

"Christmas gift suggestions: To your enemy, forgiveness. To an opponent, tolerance. To a friend, your heart. To a customer, service. To all, charity. To every child, a good example. To yourself, respect."
-- Oren Arnold

"The earth has grown old with its burden of care
But at Christmas it always is young,
The heart of the jewel burns lustrous and fair
And its soul full of music breaks the air,
When the song of angels is sung."
-- Phillips Brooks

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References: Calvin Theological Seminary

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