Advent Booklet Excerpt | Advent Liturgies
By Pastor Ben Wimmers
Introduction to Advent Liturgical Rhthym
This Advent, our readings centre around the theme of light and darkness. Our experience of light and darkness typically follows the natural rhythm of day and night. Throughout human history, this movement from light to darkness, from day to night, and back again set out a rhythm for the life of people. In the monastic traditions of the Christian church, there has been and still is a practice of engaging in prayers and reading of scripture in morning and night, to start the day and end it. In the morning, the reflection would be centered on preparation for the day, ascribing glory to God, and looking for God to speak into our lives. In the evening, the reflection would turn to thankfulness for the day, and a prayer for safekeeping through the night, relying on the promises of God to carry us through to the next morning. Additionally, it provides a time to start and end the day with God, to spend time with him intentionally.
For Advent, we are inviting you to read the morning and evening liturgy each day. There are four different liturgies for the four weeks of advent. It is our hope that the words of the liturgies, repeated for an entire week, become familiar and through familiarity invite you into deeper reflection on the theme of light and darkness. The readings are broken up into individual lines, but you will notice that readers have not been assigned — this is intentional. You are invited to divide up the reading in your household as you see fit. Whether one person reads the whole liturgy each morning and evening, or everyone takes a line as the reading is passed around the table. You can even change up the way it is read from day to day!
Advent is a season of waiting, let us prepare our hearts through daily mediation for the coming of our Messiah, the light of the world!
The following liturgies are inspired by Reformed Worship, the Worship Sourcebook 2nd edition, and the Bible.
Week 1 | November 27 – December 3
“LIVE, LIGHT, LOVE” | JOHN 1:1-5
(based on Genesis 1: 1-5)
In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep.
A wind from God swept over the face of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light.”
And there was light. And God saw that the light was good.
God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night.
And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.
The sun has set, we have seen the morning and now are in the evening. Just as it was on the first day.
The darkness is here, we can no longer see the light.
God is not limited to the light, he is still Lord in the darkness.
The Psalms declare that “even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for the darkness is as light to you” (Psalms 139:12).
We praise you God, who is the ruler of all things! Nothing can defeat you, you have overcome the darkness.
Great and awesome God, creator of all the world, we are filled with joy that you call us your own.
Though it is evening, and there is darkness all around, we are encouraged by your presence, God of light.
Thanks be to God!
Week 2 | December 4 – December 10
“NEWNESS ARRIVING” | JOHN 1:1-5
(based on Psalms 27)
The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?
The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
I believe that I shall see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.
Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage.
Wait for the LORD!
(based on Psalms 23 & 80)
This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. (1 John 1:5)
The LORD is glorious and exalted.
LORD, shine in our hearts and lives.
God’s people are often in distress and sorrow.
LORD, show your might and deliver us from evil.
We sometimes do not feel the LORD’s presence.
O LORD , let your face again shine on us.
The LORD was the shepherd of his people Israel.
LORD, lead us in our way and guide us in our walk.
Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
In this Advent season we stand on tiptoe—
Immanuel, invade our lives.
Week 3 | December 11 – December 17
“THAT YOU MAY BELIEVE” | JOHN 1:6-13
(based on Isaiah 9 & 11)
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light.
Those who lived in a land of deep darkness—on them has light shined.
A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots.
And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest on him.
His delight shall be in the fear of the LORD.
You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light!” (1 Peter 2:9)
We have been called to be a witness to this light!
Praise to God for the light that endures through the darkness.
Forgive us for the things we have done, or left undone, that have not reflected the light you have given to our lives.
We are grateful that you’ve brought the light into the darkness of our lives
We ask that you equip us to walk with your light into the darkness of the world.
Like lamp on a stand, giving light to the whole house!
Or a city on a hill, a light that cannot be hidden!
May we shine with your light in the morning, and each one after.
Week 4 | December 18 – December 24
“OUT OF HIS FULLNESS” | JOHN 1:15-18
(based on Isaiah 59 & 60)
We wait for light, but all is darkness; we look for brightness, but we walk in deep shadows.
Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you.
For darkness covers the earth, and thick darkness is over the peoples.
But the LORD will arise upon you, and nations shall come to your light.
The sun will no longer be your light by day nor will the brightness of the moon give light to you by night.
For the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory.
(based on Psalms 43: 3-5, Job 33:30b)
O send out your light and your truth; let them lead me;
let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling.
Then I will go to the altar of God, to God, my exceeding joy;
and I will praise you with the harp,
O God, my God. Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me?
I pray that the light of life may shine again on me.
We listen for your voice, calling us into your light.
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my help and my God.
Christmas Day | December 25
“DWELLING AMONG US” | JOHN 1:14
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.
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.
The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.
And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.
(based on John 1)
We have come through the season of Advent, our waiting is over, Jesus has come! On this Christmas evening, read through John 1:1-18 (try reading it in The Message for a different voice). Looking back on the past month, using the daily rhythms of liturgical readings as inspiration, what has been on your heart for this season of Advent? We have spoken at great lengths about the light and darkness, anticipating the coming of the light of the world; how does this provide us with hope as we look ahead to Christ’s return (we are in a second Advent).