Graham Cracker or Gingerbread Nativity

I hope this project brings a smile to your face and inspires some crafting time this blessed season. – Lisa <><

Supplies:
1 small white paper plate
1 large Christmas paper plate
1 empty paper butter box (or box of equal size)
Scissors
Clear tape
Plastic knife
White prepared frosting
Shredded wheat
Graham crackers (or gingerbread of equal size)
Animal crackers
2 small classic pretzels
1 pretzel nugget
1 peppermint candy
1 toothpick sign with “Jesus is the greatest gift”
Presents are optional

Process:

  1. Cut the butter box to the length of half a graham cracker.
  2. Tape the butter box half to the white paper plate.
  3. Put the white paper plate on the larger Christmas plate.
  4. Use the knife and frosting to attach pieces of graham cracker to the top and outside walls of the butter box. This makes construction easier than a freestanding stable.
  5. Attach the animal crackers to the graham cracker walls in the same manner.
  6. Attach the peppermint candy star to the graham cracker roof in the same manner.
  7. Place a small mound of frosting inside the bottom of the box. Carefully place the two small pretzels in the frosting at an angle forming a v shape. Hold and let dry. The pretzels form the manger for the baby, represented by the pretzel nugget.
  8. Place the shredded wheat around the structure to represent the hay.
  9. Add the sign. (and presents)

There’s usually lots of snacking, laughing and finger licking during this project so enjoy looking at it rather than eating it.

Advent and Christmas Bible Reading Plans

Live Hope, Give Hope: A Plan to Share the Goodness of Jesus at Christmas
Readings from Isaiah, Matthew, Luke, John, and Psalms
Also includes a sentence prayer and action prompts to Help, Offer, Pray, or Encourage
December 1-31, 6 days per week

Comfort and Joy: A Simple Bible Reading Plan for Christmas
Readings from Matthew, Luke and Johnbible luke 2
Some of the readings are even repeated so you can go slow and go deep. Also includes a sentence prayer for each reading.
December 1-31, 5 days per week

Jesus, the Coming Messiah- Advent Bible Readings from Old Testament to New
Old and New Testament Readings
December 1-25, everyday
This reading plan highlights the Old Testament names and prophesies concerning the Messiah which Christians see fulfilled in Jesus.

The Advent Door Reading Plan
Based on Jan Richardson’s book Through the Advent Door: Entering a Contemplative Christmas . Her book is structured in the style of a classic Advent calendar, with 25 scripture reflections, each with an original piece of art. This is a true Advent reading plan, with the first 18 readings focusing on the repentance and the 2nd coming of Christ.

Countdown to Christmas
Old and New Testament Readings
December 1-25, everyday

Jesus, the Coming Messiah- Advent Bible Readings from Old Testament to New

Jesus, The Coming Messiah
Thank you for setting aside times this Holy Season to seek the One we celebrate.

Jesus, The Coming Messiah is an Advent Bible reading plan highlighting the Old Testament prophesies and passages which Christians see fulfilled in Jesus.

As you read each passage, consider how this description of Jesus the Messiah reveals his character, motivation, and purpose. How does this description inspire you to trust Jesus and his promises? How will you apply and share what you have discovered?

I look forward to your comments. Happy Advent and Merry Christmas! – Lisa <

December 1
Genesis 3:1-20; Romans 16:17-20
“Seed of Eve”

December 2
Genesis 22:1-18; John 3:16-17
“Only Beloved Son and Sacrifice”

December 3
Genesis 49:8-10; Revelation 5:1-5
“Lion of Judah”

December 4
Numbers 24:15-19; Matthew 2:1-2; 9-10
“Star of Jacob”

December 5
Deuteronomy 18:14-22; Hebrews 3:1-6
“Prophet Like Moses”

December 6
2 Samuel 7:1-17, Matthew 1:1; Revelation 22:16
“Son of David”

December 7
Psalm 2; Luke 1:35
“Messiah: Son of God and King”

December 8
Job 19:23-27; Psalm 16; 1 Corinthians 8:6
“Resurrected Redeemer”

December 9
Psalm 22; Isaiah 53:1-3; John 1:10-11
“Rejected One”

December 10
Psalm 72; Luke 4:17-19
“Deliverer of the Afflicted”

December 11
Psalm 110; Hebrews 7
“High Priest Forever”

December 12
Isaiah 9:1-7; John 14:27
“Prince of Peace”

December 13
Isaiah 11:1-10; Matthew 3:13-17; John 15:1-7
“Shoot from Jesse’s Stump”

December 14
Isaiah 42:1-10
“Covenant and Light of the Nations”

December 15
Isaiah 49:1-7; 50:4-11
“Servant of Kings, Sustainer of the Weary”

December 16
Isaiah 52:13-53:12
“Suffering Servant and Lamb of God”

December 17
Jeremiah 23:1-6; 33:14-18
“Righteous Branch”

December 18
Ezekiel 34:1-31
“The Good Shepherd”

December 19
Daniel 7:9-14; Micah 5:2-5a
“The Son of Man and Ruler from Bethlehem”

December 20
Zechariah 9:9-10; 12:10-13:1
“King on a Donkey and Pierced Firstborn”

December 21
Malachi 3:1-4; 4:1-6
“Covenant Messenger and Righteous Sun”

December 22
Luke 1:5-38
“Son of the Most High”

December 23
Luke 1:39-80
“The Tender Mercy of God”

December 24
Matthew 1:18-25; John 1:1-14
“Savior from Sin and Word Made Flesh”

December 25
Matthew 2:1-12; Luke 2:1-20
“The Birth of Jesus”

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Jesus, The Coming Messiah © 2017 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are welcome to use this work in devotional settings with proper attribution.
Please leave a comment for information/permission to publish this work in any form.

Order of Worship for a Blue Christmas Service (also known as a Longest Night Service)

blue-nativity

A Blue Christmas Service is offered especially for those hurting during the holidays. It’s often offered December 21, the longest night of the year. Some come because they are mourning the death of a loved one. Some are far from home. Some suffer from illness, addiction, or estrangement. Some are lonely, struggling financially, or in conflict with another. Some hurt because of the great pain, need, and violence in our nation and world. The reasons for coming are many. We gather in the midst of suffering to remember God is good. God is strong. God is near. We are not alone and we have every reason to hold on to hope.

Pre-Service Set Up
People to greet and pass out programs
Blue strips of paper in the pews
Evergreen clippings place at the prayer rail
Anointing oil for prayer helpers
Tissues at the prayer rail and in pews
A table with 4 blue pillar candles and 1 white pillar candle
A box of matches
Blue tablecloth or white with blue runner for the table

Gathering Music

Welcome
This might include a brief explanation of the purpose of the service

Opening Prayer
One or all praying
Merciful God,
In this season of rejoicing, we come to you weary and grieving
In this season of feasting, we hunger for healing and relief
In this season of light, our hearts are veiled in sorrow and shadow
Will this season ever end?

“Yes.” We hear your, “Yes.”
Those who are weary will find rest
Those who mourn will be comforted
Those who hunger will be filled
The Light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness will not overcome it.

Lighting the Christ Candle
One person says– We welcome you O Christ, Light of the World. In the midst of our suffering, help us to worship you in spirit and in truth.

Strike a match and light the white candle

Song
Suggestion- a soloist singing Breath of Heaven by Amy Grant

Scripture Isaiah 11:1-5, The Voice Translation
One person reads the Scripture
On this humbled ground,
a tiny shoot, hopeful and promising, will sprout from Jesse’s stump
a branch will emerge from his roots to bear fruit.
And on this child from David’s line, the Spirit of the Eternal One will alight and rest.
By the Spirit of wisdom and discernment He will shine like the dew.
By the Spirit of counsel and strength He will judge fairly and act courageously.
By the Spirit of knowledge and reverence of the Eternal One, He will take pleasure in honoring the Eternal.
He will determine fairness and equity;
He will consider more than what meets the eye,
And weigh in more than what he’s told.
So that even those who can’t afford a good defense
will nevertheless get a fair and equitable judgment.
With just a word, He will end wickedness and abolish oppression.
With nothing more than the breath of His mouth, He will destroy evil.
He will clothe himself with righteousness and truth
The impulse to right wrongs will be in his blood.

A brief message of hope is offered based on the Isaiah reading

Candle Lighting
Instrumental underscore- O Come, O Come Emmanuel
Light one of the candles following each passage from Psalms
One person reads what each candle represents
The following passage from Psalms may be read by one or all persons

This candle represents our suffering and the suffering of the world.
In the light of God’s love, we claim God’s gift of truth.
There is no need to hide or deny. God welcomes us as we are.

Incline your ear, O Lord, and answer me, for I am poor and needy. ~Psalm 86:1

This candle represents our suffering and the suffering of the world.
In the light of God’s love, we claim God’s gift of lament.
We recognize our wounds and cry out to God.
We accept God’s invitation to express every feeling and question.

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from helping me, from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer; and by night, but find no rest. ~ Psalm 22:1-2

This candle represents our suffering and the suffering of the world.
In the light of God’s love, we claim God’s gift of courage.
Courage to be honest, to seek help, to comfort one another.
Courage to dare to love and dream again.

The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts; so I am helped, and my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him. ~ Psalm 28:7

This candle represents our suffering and the suffering of the world.
In the light of God’s love, we claim God’s gift of hope.
God is good. God is strong. God is near, leading us to a day without tears and pain, without sin and death. Healing and deliverance are coming; if not now, then on that day.

By awesome deeds you answer us with deliverance, O God of our salvation; you are the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas. ~Psalm 65:5

Song
Suggestion- a soloist singing Cry out to Jesus by Third Day

Instructions for Prayer Time

  • You are encouraged to write your burdens and sorrows on the blue strips of paper and then place them on the table with the candles
  • Following that, make your way to the prayer rail
  • Persons are available to pray with you as you stand or kneel
  • Anointing oil is also available.
  • Please take an evergreen clipping with you as you return to your seat as a reminder of God’s steadfast love and faithfulness

Instrumental underscore following the instructions

Prayer after everyone is seated.
One person praying as they place their hand on the blue strips of paper.

Jesus, you are full of compassion, you understand our pain. Our suffering changes our experience of you and the celebration of your birth. We are caught between remembering happier times and grieving what might have been. In our loss we feel cut off- disconnected, adrift, alone.

Root us in your steadfast love. Anchor us in your faithful promises.
Hold us, and all who weep this holy season throughout the world-
those who mourn, those far from home, those looking for work,
the lonely, the addicted, the abused,
the estranged, the oppressed, the enslaved,
the poor, victims of war, the sick and dying.
Shelter and sustain us all with your healing and hope, your peace and light.

We love you, we need you, we trust you,
We ask this in your name Jesus, praying as you taught us…

Everyone prays
Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name,
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever. Amen

Song
Suggestion- The Only Real Peace I Have by Allison Speer

Affirmation of Faith for Christmas
Adapted from the poem First Coming by Madeleine L’Engle.

ONE: Christians, what do you believe?

ALL: God did not wait till the world was ready,
till nations were at peace.
God came when the Heavens were unsteady
and prisoners cried out for release.
God did not wait for the perfect time.
God came when the need was deep and great.
God dined with sinners in all their grime,
turned water into wine.
God did not wait till hearts were pure.
In joy God came to a tarnished world of sin and doubt.
To a world like ours, of anguished shame,
God came and God’s Light would not go out.
God came to a world which did not mesh;
to heal its tangles, shield its scorn.
In the mystery of the Word made Flesh,
the Maker of the stars was born.
We cannot wait till the world is sane
to raise our songs with joyful voice,
For to share our grief, to touch our pain,
God came with Love: Rejoice! Rejoice!

Passing the Peace

Song Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee
All singing
Joyful, joyful, we adore thee, God of glory, Lord of love;
Hearts unfold like flowers before thee, opening to the sun above.
Melt the clouds of sin and sadness;
Drive the dark of doubt away.
Giver of immortal gladness, fill us with the light of day!

Thou art giving and forgiving, ever blessing, ever blest,
Well-spring of the joy of living, ocean depth of happy rest!
Thou our Father, Christ our brother,
All who live in love are thine;
Teach us how to love each other, lift us to the joy divine.

Mortals, join the mighty chorus which the morning stars began;
Love divine is reigning o’er us, binding all within its span.
Ever singing, march we onward,
Victors in the midst of strife;
Joyful music leads us sunward, in the triumph song of life.

Blessing
Following the blessing, you are welcome to stay as long as you like. Persons are available to speak with you further about your situation. You are also welcome to set an appointment with the pastor or director of congregational care. (give contact information)

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This prayer is printed as a gift for persons to take home.
I pray for the grace to bear my sufferings as Christ bore his for me
With Dignity
Humility
Forgiveness

I pray for the grace to bear my sufferings as Christ bore his for me
With Compassion
Truth
Perseverance

I pray for the grace to bear my sufferings as Christ bore his for me
Knowing my sufferings are not like his
and not like others
yet shared with the universal longings of all humanity
Real and Painful and Deep
No need for comparison
Only companionship

I pray for the grace to bear my sufferings as Christ bore his for me
As Christ bore his for all
All I will ever suffer
All we all will ever suffer
Will be made known
Will be made whole
Through his love and self giving

In this I believe
and trust
and follow
and hope
In this I am made new
Thanks be to God!
Hallelujah!
Amen!

For Grace to Bear Suffering © 2014 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia

Blue Christmas Service © 2016 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are welcome to use this work in devotional settings with proper attribution.
Please contact Lisa for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

Live Hope, Give Hope: a Plan to Share the Goodness of Jesus this Christmas

live-hope-give-hope-1

Live Hope, Give Hope
A plan to share the goodness of Jesus this Christmas

  • Helping
  • Offering
  • Praying
  • Encouraging

December 1: Luke 1:5-25
Zechariah and Gabriel
Merciful God, you offer me new life. Help me receive it and believe it.
– Hold the door for people today and say to them what you’d want to hear.

December 2: Luke 1:26-38
Mary and Gabriel
Holy One, reveal my role in your saving work and give me the courage to say yes.
– Do one thing out of your comfort zone for someone.

December 3: Isaiah 9:2-7                
Isaiah’s Prophecy
Lord of Life, fill me with your hope and light!
– Celebrate the season of light. Decorate your home or a neighbor’s

December 4: worship and rest

December 5: Luke 1:26-38
Mary and the Holy Spirit
Power of the Most High, overshadow me and make your home in me.
– Tell three people that they’re valuable and needed

December 6: Luke 1:39-45
Mary Visits Elizabeth
Jesus, fill me with a spirit of hospitality so I may see and welcome all people as you do.
– Go out of your way today to make someone feel at home

December 7: Luke 1:46-56
Mary’s Song
Mighty God, open my lips with a witness to your just and saving power.
– Tell someone how God has changed your life

December 8: Luke 1:57-80
Zechariah’s Prayer
Holy Spirit, complete your saving work in my life and fill my mouth with praise.
– Say thank you to as many people as you can today

December 9: Matthew 1:1-17
Genealogy of Jesus
God of the Ages, help me to believe and respond to your plan, even when your plan is far beyond my imagining.
– Connect with one person today that it’s been too long

December 10: Isaiah 61:1-8            
The Prophet Isaiah
Hallelujah to our Savior, our Healer, our Deliverer!
– Set three alarms to pray for someone’s salvation throughout the day

December 11: worship and rest

December 12: Matthew 1:18-25
Joseph’s Dream
Holy Comforter, you are near when my dream dies.
You are near the brokenhearted. Thanks be to you.

– Ask, “How can I help?” as many times as possible today

December 13: Matthew 1:18-25
God With Us
O come, O come Emmanuel, encourage me with the promise of your steadfast presence and love.
– Make invitations to Christmas Worship Services

December 14: Luke 2:1-7
No Room
Gift of Heaven, order my desiring and my time so I don’t miss you this season.
– Set aside 15 minutes to be quiet with Jesus

December 15: Luke 2:1-7
Jesus Is Born
O holy Child of Bethlehem, descend to us, we pray.
Cast out our sin, and enter in, be born in us today.- Phillips Brooks

– Belly laugh with someone. Look for laughter and multiply it.

December 16: Luke 2:8-14
Angels and Shepherds
Son of Mary, Son of God, bring peace to all on earth.
– Call someone and sing your favorite Christmas song

December 17: Isaiah 11:1-11          
The Prophet Isaiah
Prince of Peace, break down every dividing wall.
– Take 15 minutes to listen to someone different from you

December 18: worship and rest

December 19: Luke 2:15-20
The Shepherds’ Visit
We welcome you O Christ, long awaited Messiah.
We receive you with joy and pray others will as well.
– Tell as many people as you can that you love their smile

December 20: John 1:1-18
Jesus, the Word of God
Jesus, make me hungry for you and your word.
– Tape a Bible verse to your mirror to memorize this week

December 21: John 1:1-18
Jesus, the Word Made Flesh
Holy Christ, I sit in wonder before your willingness to be vulnerable so we might be saved.
– Make a sacrifice or take a risk today

December 22: Luke 2:21
Jesus is Circumcised
Heavenly Father, mark me, name me, claim me as your child.
– Wear something that identifies you as a follower of Christ

December 23: Luke 2:22-38
Simeon and Anna
Faithful God, grant me a persevering and active faith.
– Send three notes or texts encouraging perseverance

December 24: Matthew 2:1-12
The Star
Bright and Morning Star, lead me with your truth and light.
– Hug someone today and tell them, “God loves you!”

December 25: worship and rest

December 26: Matthew 2:1-12
The Wise Ones
Jesus, what am I really searching for?
– Take a quiet walk with God today asking, “What do you want from me?”

December 27: Matthew 2:1-12
Gift Giving
King of Kings, receive the best I have, with all my adoration and love.
– Make a donation of money or items to a local charity

December 28: Matthew 2:13-15
Run for Your Life
Light of the World, protect all who are displaced by violence and evil.
Grant them a safe home.

– Find a map of the world and pray as you touch each country

December 29: Matthew 2:16-18
Herod’s Genocide
Lord of Life, hear our cry. Rescue your beloved.
Deliver us from bloodshed. End the madness.
– Write 12 notes saying, “You are so loved” and hide them at the grocery store, food court, library, etc. for people to find

December 30: Matthew 2:19-23
Returning from Egypt
Lord of Heaven and Earth, save me from my wandering. Lead me home.
– Pick a special spot in your home to do your devotions in 2017

December 31: Psalm 100
Prayer for New Year’s Eve
Holy Trinity, Eternal One, for the blessings of today, which remind us of the blessings of the past, which point forward to the blessings still to come we give you thanks.

Click Here for an example of how to turn this blog post into a printed brochure

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Live Hope, Give Hope © 2016 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are welcome to use this work in devotional settings with proper attribution.
Please contact Lisa for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

Prayer: Making Room (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

Well educated
making room

A migrant, 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
Forgive me
Change me
Teach me
To do what you do
To make room

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

Advent Wreath Prayers: Let in the Light

pink_candle_light_flame_hope adventFirst Sunday in Advent: HOPE
READER ONE: Let in the Light

READER TWO: Psalm 84:11-12
The Lord God is a sun and shield; he bestows favor and honor.
No good thing does the Lord withhold from those who walk uprightly.
O Lord of hosts, blessed is everyone who trusts in you.

READER ONE: Let in the Light
Light the candle of hope

ALL: The following prayer by Dimitri of Rostov or a verse or two from the song I Want to Walk as a Child of the Light (United Methodist Hymnal #206)
Come, my Light, and illumine my darkness.
Come, my Life, and revive me from death.
Come, my Physician, and heal my wounds.
Come, Flame of divine love, and burn up the thorns of my sins,
kindling my heart with the flame of your love.
Come, my King, sit upon the throne of my heart and reign there,
for you alone are my King and my Lord.
Amen.

Second Sunday in Advent: LOVE
READER ONE: Let in the Light

READER TWO: John 3:16-21
Jesus said, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Those who believe in him are not condemned; but those who do not believe are condemned already, because they have not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed. But those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God.”

READER ONE: Let in the Light
Light the candles of hope and love

ALL: The following prayer by Dimitri of Rostov or a verse or two from the song I Want to Walk as a Child of the Light (United Methodist Hymnal #206)
Come, my Light, and illumine my darkness.
Come, my Life, and revive me from death.
Come, my Physician, and heal my wounds.
Come, Flame of divine love, and burn up the thorns of my sins,
kindling my heart with the flame of your love.
Come, my King, sit upon the throne of my heart and reign there,
for you alone are my King and my Lord.
Amen.

Third Sunday in Advent: JOY
READER ONE: Let in the Light

READER TWO: John 12:46, John 8:12
Jesus said, “I have come as light into the world, so that everyone who believes in me should not remain in the darkness… I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

READER ONE: Let in the Light
Light the candles of hope, love and joy

ALL: The following prayer by Dimitri of Rostov or a verse or two from the song I Want to Walk as a Child of the Light (United Methodist Hymnal #206)
Come, my Light, and illumine my darkness.
Come, my Life, and revive me from death.
Come, my Physician, and heal my wounds.
Come, Flame of divine love, and burn up the thorns of my sins,
kindling my heart with the flame of your love.
Come, my King, sit upon the throne of my heart and reign there,
for you alone are my King and my Lord.
Amen.

Fourth Sunday in Advent: PEACE
READER ONE: Let in the Light

READER TWO: 1 Peter 2:9-11
You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. Beloved, I urge you as aliens and exiles to abstain from the desires of the flesh that wage war against the soul.

READER ONE: Let in the Light
Light the candles of hope, love, joy and peace

ALL: The following prayer by Dimitri of Rostov or a verse or two from the song I Want to Walk as a Child of the Light (United Methodist Hymnal #206)
Come, my Light, and illumine my darkness.
Come, my Life, and revive me from death.
Come, my Physician, and heal my wounds.
Come, Flame of divine love, and burn up the thorns of my sins,
kindling my heart with the flame of your love.
Come, my King, sit upon the throne of my heart and reign there,
for you alone are my King and my Lord.
Amen.

Christmas Eve
Part One, at or near the beginning of the service
READER ONE: Isaiah 9:2, 6-7
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness— on them light has shined.

An Advent candle is lit as each name for the Messiah is read:
For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

His authority shall grow continually, and there shall be endless peace for the throne of David and his kingdom. He will establish and uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time onward and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.

ALL: Prayer by Dimitri of Rostov 
Come, my Light, and illumine my darkness.
Come, my Life, and revive me from death.
Come, my Physician, and heal my wounds.
Come, Flame of divine love, and burn up the thorns of my sins,
kindling my heart with the flame of your love.
Come, my King, sit upon the throne of my heart and reign there,
for you alone are my King and my Lord.
Amen.

Part Two, at the end of the service
READER ONE OR PASTOR
For weeks we’ve been lighting more and more candles on this wreath in preparation to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Tonight we light the final candle, for Jesus, the Light of the World, has come. God has kept the prophetic promise:

By the tender mercy of our God, the dawn from on high will break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace. (Luke 1:78-79)

ONE SINGING
I Want to Walk as a Child of the Light
United Methodist Hymnal #206, verse 1
Light the Christ Candle during the song

READER ONE OR PASTOR
It’s now our turn. Accept the Light, share Him with others, and carry His peace forth from this place.

The light is passed from person to person as all sing Silent Night (United Methodist Hymnal #239). At the close of Silent Night, sing the following a cappella
Happy Birthday to You
Happy Birthday to You
Happy Birthday dear Jesus
Happy Birthday to You

Follow this with the closing Benediction and/or Postlude

Christmas Day or the Sunday after Christmas
READER ONE: Let in the Light

READER TWO: John 1:1-5
In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
He was in the beginning with God.
All things came into being through him,
and without him not one thing came into being.
What has come into being in him was life,
and the life was the light of all people.
The light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness did not overcome it.

READER ONE: Let in the Light
Light the Christ candle

ALL: The following prayer by Dimitri of Rostov or a verse or two from the song I Want to Walk as a Child of the Light (United Methodist Hymnal #206)
Come, my Light, and illumine my darkness.
Come, my Life, and revive me from death.
Come, my Physician, and heal my wounds.
Come, Flame of divine love, and burn up the thorns of my sins,
kindling my heart with the flame of your love.
Come, my King, sit upon the throne of my heart and reign there,
for you alone are my King and my Lord.
Amen.

Epiphany or the Sunday before Epiphany
READER ONE: Let in the Light

READER TWO: Matthew 2:1-2
In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.”

READER ONE: Let in the Light
Light the Christ Candle

ALL: The following prayer by Dimitri of Rostov or a verse or two from the song I Want to Walk as a Child of the Light (United Methodist Hymnal #206)
Come, my Light, and illumine my darkness.
Come, my Life, and revive me from death.
Come, my Physician, and heal my wounds.
Come, Flame of divine love, and burn up the thorns of my sins,
kindling my heart with the flame of your love.
Come, my King, sit upon the throne of my heart and reign there,
for you alone are my King and my Lord.
Amen.

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This worship resource emphasizes the classic Advent candle symbols of hope, love, joy and peace. Since the scriptures center on the theme of light, this resource may be used in any liturgical year. The passages come from the NIV or NRSV of the Bible.

This worship resource calls for “more and more candles” to be lit each Sunday of Advent in order to emphasize “more and more light”. (The present and second coming of Christ growing more near as time passes. 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. Also, feel free to substitute a different prayer or song choice for the congregation at the end of each reading.

You’ll notice only the Christ candle is lit during the season of Christmas, December 25 – January 5. (12 days of Christmas) Some Christians extend this season to January 11, ending it with a celebration of Jesus’ baptism.

Click here for a post discussing the Christian understanding of Advent.
Click here for a brief history of the Advent Wreath.

Advent Wreath Prayers: Let in the Light © 2015 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are welcome to use this work in a worship setting with proper attribution.
Please contact Lisa for information and permission to publish this work in any form.