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November 26th, 2011

               The Advent wreath is a Christian tradition dating back at least to the nineteenth century.  Wreaths are used in homes and churches to focus on the meaning of Advent and the anticipation of Christmas. 

               One of the first Advent wreaths incorporated 23 candles – 19 colored ones for weekdays and four white ones for Sundays.  This was a way of helping children count down the days to Christmas.  The tradition has standardized into four colored candles (sometimes red, more often three purple and one rose/pink) with a white candle in the middle.

               Click here for an overview of the Advent wreath themes.  The themes most frequently cited are hope, peace, joy, and love.  But the same themes can also related to four aspects of the Christmas story – prophecy, Bethlehem, angels, and shepherds.  This year at Corinth we will use the latter set of themes.

Here is a suggested home order for the first Advent candle, modified from the order we will use in our worship service.

Scripture

The prophet Isaiah wrote, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders.  And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

(You may also read Matthew 2:1-6)

Song

Sing an Advent hymn such as “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” (first and last verse) or a favorite Christmas carol.

Question (a child, if possible)

Why do we light the first candle?

Meaning of the Candle

The first candle on the Advent wreath is the prophecy candle.  Long before Jesus was born, God sent prophets with warnings and promises.  Christ came to give hope by fulfilling the prophecies, and he will come again.

Prayer

Let us pray.  Mighty God and everlasting Father, we thank you for counsel and peace through the gift of prophecy.  Help us to be listen to the all the ways you speak to us, especially in the Bible.  We pray this in the name of Jesus, Amen.  (Or pray in your own words for those who need hope.)

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