Lighting a candle is a simple yet profound act. It is a testimony to the power of light over darkness. Even the light of one candle can reveal our faces as we stand near the candle. As we light the candle, we begin our journey to Christmas, a day of joy and celebration.
The first candle on the Advent wreath is called the Prophecy candle, it opens the period that anticipates Christmas and remembers those who first spoke the promise of the coming Christ child. We celebrate the hope of Christmas.
[Light one of the purple candles.]
One candle, burning bright,
Chasing away the darkness from light.
One candle, glowing light,
The blessing of God, giving new sight.
From the Old Testament
Scripture: Isaiah 2:2-5
2 In the last days the mountain of the Lord’s temple will be established
as the highest of the mountains;
it will be exalted above the hills,
and all nations will stream to it.
3 Many peoples will come and say,
“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
to the temple of the God of Jacob.
He will teach us his ways,
so that we may walk in his paths.”
The law will go out from Zion,
the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
4 He will judge between the nations
and will settle disputes for many peoples.
They will beat their swords into plowshares
and their spears into pruning hooks.
Nation will not take up sword against nation,
nor will they train for war anymore.
5 Come, descendants of Jacob,
let us walk in the light of the Lord.
God of light, place a candle of hope in our hearts, so we may walk as children of the Light, treading gently on the paths of peace and ever ready to welcome the signs of new life. Amen.
From the Psalms
In Psalm 122 we see religious people approaching the holy city of Jerusalem. They are filled with joyous anticipation of worship. Soon they will be in the city and in the temple. Soon they will be in the presence of the Lord. In that context, the psalmist prays for the peace of Jerusalem.
Scripture: Psalm 122
1 I rejoiced with those who said to me,
“Let us go to the house of the Lord.”
2 Our feet are standing
in your gates, Jerusalem.
3 Jerusalem is built like a city
that is closely compacted together.
4 That is where the tribes go up—
the tribes of the Lord—
to praise the name of the Lord
according to the statute given to Israel.
5 There stand the thrones for judgment,
the thrones of the house of David.
6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
“May those who love you be secure.
7 May there be peace within your walls
and security within your citadels.”
8 For the sake of my family and friends,
I will say, “Peace be within you.”
9 For the sake of the house of the Lord our God,
I will seek your prosperity.
Dear God, on this first Sunday in Advent we begin a spiritual pilgrimage as we joyously anticipate Christmas day, a reminder of the birth of our Savior that has given us this great hope. As we come to this place of worship, we know that we are in your presence. Thank you for the hope, that through us, all may know the peace that Christ brings. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.
From the New Testament
Scripture: Romans 13:11-14
11 And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. 12 The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So, let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13 Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. 14 Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.
Dear God, as we celebrate the first coming of Jesus and anticipate his second coming, help us to be awake and ready to do battle. We battle against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil. Clothe us with Jesus Christ that we may walk in his light, which is able to banish darkness. In the Savior’s name we pray. Amen.