Advent Wreath Readings based on the Song of Zechariah, Luke 1.67-79

2016-advent-wreath-trinity-sarasota

Advent Wreath at Trinity United Methodist Church in Sarasota, Florida

First Sunday in Advent: Hope
ONE
Blessed are you, O Lord our God
In Christ, you visit us and redeem us
In Christ, you raise up a mighty savior for us
In Christ, you deliver us from all that seeks to destroy us
In Christ, you show great mercy to us
You keep your promises and your covenant

ALL
Fill us with your healing and hope,
so we may speak and serve without fear,
in holiness and righteousness all our days
for the honor and glory of your name. Amen.

Light the candle of hope

Second Sunday in Advent: Peace
ONE
Blessed are you, O Lord our God
In Christ, you visit us and redeem us
In Christ, you raise up a mighty savior for us
In Christ, you deliver us from all that seeks to destroy us
In Christ, you show great mercy to us
You keep your promises and your covenant

ALL
Fill us with your power and peace,
so we may speak and serve without fear,
in holiness and righteousness all our days
for the honor and glory of your name. Amen.

Light the candles of hope and peace

Third Sunday in Advent: Joy
ONE
Blessed are you, O Lord our God
In Christ, you visit us and redeem us
In Christ, you raise up a mighty savior for us
In Christ, you deliver us from all that seeks to destroy us
In Christ, you show great mercy to us
You keep your promises and your covenant

ALL
Fill us with your justice and joy,
so we may speak and serve without fear,
in holiness and righteousness all our days
for the honor and glory of your name. Amen.

Light the candles of hope, peace, and joy

Fourth Sunday in Advent: Love
ONE
Blessed are you, O Lord our God
In Christ, you visit us and redeem us
In Christ, you raise up a mighty savior for us
In Christ, you deliver us from all that seeks to destroy us
In Christ, you show great mercy to us
You keep your promises and your covenant

ALL
Fill us with your light and love,
so we may speak and serve without fear,
in holiness and righteousness all our days
for the honor and glory of your name. Amen.

Light the candles of hope, peace, joy, and love

*************
Notes:
This worship resource may be used for worship at home or as a congregation. It emphasizes the classic Advent candle symbols of hope, peace, joy, and love. The text is inspired by the Song of Zechariah, the powerful blessing and prophecy spoken by him at the circumcision of his son, John the Baptist. (Luke 1:57-80) It’s appropriate for any lectionary year.

This worship resource calls for more and more candles to be lit each Sunday. This reminds us of the present and second coming of Christ growing nearer as time passes and the celebration of Christ’s first coming at Christmas growing nearer as well. Thus, no candles are lit prior to the service. Some prefer to have the previous weeks’ candles lit prior to the service so only one candle is lit each week, thus adding light to those already lit. Feel free to use whichever method you prefer.

Click here for a resource for lighting the Advent Wreath on Christmas Eve.
Click here for a brief history of the Advent Wreath, instructions for how to make one, and two more Advent Wreath Readings

Advent Wreath Readings based on the Song of Zechariah © 2022 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are welcome to use this work in a worship setting with proper attribution
(By Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia, http://www.revlisad.com)
Please contact Lisa for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

The Visitation- Christmas Reflections for Mary and Elizabeth (Luke 1)

old and young hands

Based on The Visitation, Luke 1:39-56

There They Stand
Mary entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth.
– Luke 1:40

There they stand
breathless
belly to belly
the maid and the elder cousin
full of grace and truth

John leaps for joy
Covered in the flesh of Elizabeth
Unborn, yet already at work
In the wilderness of her womb
He will not wait to make the Way known

Elizabeth extends her arthritic hands
One wrapping Mary in welcome
The other in blessing
Encompassing the inexperienced traveler
in affirmation of faith

Worship overwhelms worry
In the sanctuary of her solace
Mary is safe enough to sing

As You Have Said
Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said… The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name.” – Luke 1:38, 49

Revel and Rejoice
Praise and Proclaim
Magnify
Glorify
Adore

Our Steadfast Savior
Mindful of our frailty
Looks on our lowliness
and responds with greatness
Great grace and Greater grace
for us and for all

Holy, Holy, Holy Lord
God of power and might
Heaven and earth are full of Your glory
It is as you have said

Your mercy extends
Floods and Flows
Through time and place
Through need and pain
Body and Soul to
Soul to Soul to Soul to…

You show true strength
Bringing down those who bow the knee to no one
Scattering those who set up their own kingdoms
be it castle or corporation
Revealing it to be ashes
and emptiness

You show true strength
Lifting up those bowed low
Face in the dirt
Bearing the weight of excess and greed
Buried beneath crushing injustice

You show true strength
Raising up
Filling up
Faithful, Covenant Keeper
Remembering and
Re-membering

Revel and Rejoice
Praise and Proclaim
Magnify
Glorify
Adore

It is and will be
as You have said
Holy, Holy, Holy Lord

Believe by Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment
of what was spoken to her by God. —Luke 1.45

This time of year we’re told to “believe.”
But what does that mean?
Judging from the movies to believe
means to believe in magic, or Santa, or romance,
to be optimistically wishful and naïve.
In many Christian circles to believe means
to think, as in believing certain doctrines are true.
But the word “believe” comes from old English,
rooted in German, belieben—to love.
In scripture to believe means to give your heart:
to lovingly entrust yourself, not to an idea but to a person.

Blessed is she who trusts God, and the power of love.
Blessed is she who trusts
that God’s promise will be fulfilled in her.
Blessed is she who trusts
that her love is more powerful than empires.
Blessed is she who entrusts herself
to the One who births her,
and who is in her, and whom she births.
Blessed is she who trusts her worthiness,
that her calling is sure and her gift is needed
and her voice carries weight.
Blessed is she who gives herself over
to the divine work of bearing love into the world.

Blessed are you,
and blessed is the fruit of the womb of your heart.

***********
There They Stand © 2010 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
As You Have Said © 2014 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are welcome to use this work in a worship setting with proper attribution.
by Lisa Degrenia (www.revlisad.com)
Please leave a comment for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

Making Room, A Christmas Prayer Poem based on Luke 2.1-7

change sheets
Reading: Luke 2:1-7

She gave birth to her firstborn, a son.
She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger,
because there was no room for them in the inn.
– Luke 2:7

Prayer: Making Room
No room in the inn
I can understand this
There’s only so much space
And it’s already taken
It’s simple
Factual

But your blessed Word says more
No room for them in the inn

Them
Joseph and Mary are them
Unlike me and mine
Suspicious strangers
With complicated needs

I can’t bring them in
No time
No room

I won’t bring them in
Give them access to all I have
All I’ve worked for
All I love

It isn’t wise
It isn’t safe

The stable is for them
Stay there
Over there
that hidden place
that place in the back
that place for animals
away from where I live
not here with me and mine

But
I want Jesus
and
Jesus is them

There’s no room for him
if there’s no room for them

That’s who Jesus is
That’s what Jesus does
He makes room

Born in a stable
making room
for the humble and the homeless

King of kings
making room
for the rich and the royal

An outsider
making room
for those who’ve been
turned away
left out
rejected

An insider
making room
for the distinguished and established

A laborer
making room

A wise teacher
making room

A refugee
making room

making room
making room
always making room

That’s who you are Jesus
That’s what you do
You make room

You’ve even made room for me

Now make room in me
Open me
Awaken me
Release me
To do what you do
To make room

***********
Prayer: Making Room  © 2014, updated 2021 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are welcome to use this work in a worship setting with proper attribution.
Please leave a comment for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

Like our sister Mary, an Affirmation of Faith for Advent and Christmas

mother-of-god-icon-l

Like our sister Mary, we say yes

Yes to your favor
Your presence
Your blessing

Yes that we are enough just as we are
Where we are

Yes to your calling
and the power of the Holy Spirit coming upon us to fulfill it

Yes to bearing and birthing
Your Word and your Promises and your Kingdom
in this time and place

Yes to all things being possible with you

Like our sister Mary we say
Here I am, the Lord’s humble servant
As you have said, let it be done to me
in me
through me

Like our sister Mary we sing and celebrate you
Our God, Our Liberator
For though we are your humble servants
You have noticed us

******************
This affirmation is offered for all, but especially for those who lead God’s people during the holy-days of Christmas. It can be an weary and stressful time. It’s easy to miss the wonder and grace of God’s intimate presence with so much responsibility. The stakes feel sky high. Breathe, trust, receive brothers and sisters. The promises are for you as well.

We use this as our Affirmation of Faith during Advent by adding the following
ONE:
God is calling, inviting. Christians, what is your answer?
ALL:
Like our sister Mary, we say yes…

Happy Advent and Merry Christmas! – Lisa <><

Like our Sister Mary © 2017 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are welcome to use this work in devotional settings with proper attribution.
by Lisa Degrenia (www.revlisad.com)
Please leave a comment for information/permission to publish this work in any form.

Based on Luke 1:26-48, The Voice translation

Do You Hear What I Hear? A Devotional Based on Beloved Christmas Carols

Songs of Christmas 1110 x 624The Christmas Story is full of singing. Over the centuries we’ve continued to celebrate with songs of our own, songs born from the joy of Christ’s coming.

This holy season, to prepare our hearts again for the coming of Christ, the congregation of Coronado Community United Methodist Church in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, will reflect on the poetry of these meaningful songs.

You’re most welcome to join us. Just CLICK HERE to download the free resource guide. Our journey will begin Monday, November 29, and continue all the way to Epiphany, January 6, 2022.

Some songs will be old friends. Others will be new. May their beauty and power draw you close to Jesus, the babe of Bethlehem, the Risen King. – Lisa <><

********

Do You Hear What I Hear, the Songs of Christmas © 2021 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are welcome to use this compilation for personal devotions.
Do not publish this work in any form.