Monday, November 22, 2010

Advent Wreath Devotional

burning candleFor the past few years, my family has utilized the following devotional around our Advent wreath. The structure is simple: Each night before dinner, we light the candles, read a passage of Scripture, say a prayer, and lift our voices in song. The prayers and passages are shaped around the symbology of the candles, which represent hope, peace, joy, and love. The devotions are brief enough for our young children to bear in the witching hour just before supper but spiritually rich enough to give all of us something to contemplate as we spend a few minutes together in adoration of Our Coming Lord.

Frankly, I cannot remember where I originally found these prayers, and so to whomever I may be plagiarizing, my apologies. I hope, given the circumstances, you will not mind if I share these words with the world. In all things, grace. To God be the Glory. (And if you recognize them and know where they are from, please let me know so that I can give proper citation!)

I hope that this Advent devotional may bless some of you as a way to center your family in prayer this holy season. It has been a blessing to us.

A Rite for the Beginning of Advent at Home

LEADER: As our nights grow longer and our days grow shorter,
we look on these earthly lights
and remember God's promise to our world:
Christ, our Light and our Hope, will come.

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned….
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, Might God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness
from that time and forever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.
Is. 9:1-2, 6-7

ALL: O God, rejoicing, we remember the promise of your Son. As the light from this candle shines forth, may the blessing of Christ come upon us, brightening our way and guiding us in truth. May we resolve, this Advent season, to be a light of Christ to those around us. May all other brightness of the holiday be dim in comparison with this gift of Jesus in our lives.
Amen.

The first candle is lighted.

Daily Devotionals for the Advent Wreath

First Week (Hope)

Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge.
Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him,
for God is our refuge.
Ps. 62:5-8

Jesus, you are Emmanuel, God with us. You are our rock, our refuge, and our only hope. Through your sacrifice, we are reunited to our Father in Heaven. We praise you, and we thank you for being our hope in this world. Amen.

Sing first verse of “O Come, O Come Emmanuel”

O come, O come, Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

Second Week (Peace)

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Ph. 4:6-7

Lord Jesus Christ, only joy of every heart, grant us your peace. Teach us to trust in you, and not to concern ourselves with the things of this world. Help us to be instruments of your peace in this broken world. We look with joyful hope to the coming of your kingdom where peace will reign forever. Amen.

Sing second verse of “O Come, O Come Emmanuel”

O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan's tyranny
From depths of Hell Thy people save
And give them victory o'er the grave
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

Third Week (Joy)

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Ph. 4:4-5

Father, we rejoice in your merciful love. We thank you for adopting us into your family, and for the gift of your precious son, Jesus. We wait in anticipation for the celebration of his birth. We rejoice for the gift of your Holy Spirit who dwells in and among us, and who daily draws us nearer to you. Amen.

Sing third verse of “O Come, O Come Emmanuel”

O come, Thou Day-Spring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
And death's dark shadows put to flight.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

Fourth Week (Love)

Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
1 Cor. 13:12-13

Father God, all things are in your hands, come and show us the way to salvation. Lead us, your children, into your eternal kingdom where we may know your love completely and fully love you in return. Daily draw us into your presence that we may be more and more aware of your love. We thank you this day for the truest demonstration of your love, the giving of your son Jesus to us, that we might dwell with your forever. Amen.

Sing fourth verse of “O Come, O Come Emmanuel”

O come, Thou Key of David, come,
And open wide our heavenly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

On Christmas Eve, sing the final verse of “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel”

O come, O come, Thou Lord of might,
Who to Thy tribes, on Sinai's height,
In ancient times did'st give the Law,
In cloud, and majesty and awe.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel. 

3 comments:

  1. Thanks for posting! I think I saw prayers similar to these on the USCCB website maybe last Advent? I doubt the Bishops would mind you sharing them with the world! ;)

    Happy Thanksgiving!

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  2. Thank you for this encouragement! I'm looking forward to getting our family's first advent wreath this Sunday, and this will sure help us out :)

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  3. We started with our Jesse tree tonight, and are looking forward to lighting our advent wreath as well. We're also reading the story "Jotham's Journey" in our advent family time. I love this time of year and am bound and determined to give Jesus much more attention in our home than the materialistic Christmas machine does outside of our doors! Thanks for sharing your traditions. I love the devotions and prayers!

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