Seed Thoughts for Advent - Year B

Advent is a time when we return to our roots as Christians. It is the first season of the liturgical year when we wait earnestly for Christ to be re-birthed into our hearts. Jesus was of humble beginnings, born in a stable in Bethlehem. The processional dramas and Advent Candle lighting liturgies in this Worship Ways invite congregations to consider the humble beginnings of Jesus Christ, God’s chosen Ruler of Peace and the Light of the World, who brings God’s hope. While many sanctuaries will be adorned with Christmas trees, colored lights and poinsettias, this year’s Advent Table offers a place of contrasting beauty in its stark humility. Some hymns are suggested to accompany the liturgies, leaving space for others to be added.

The Advent Table:

Instead of an Advent Candle stand, place the four Advent candles in a circle or wreath on a table that has been covered in humble cloth such as burlap, woven cloth, a Mexican blanket, saddle blanket or perhaps a grey blanket from Church World Service. Place a fifth white candle in the center as the Christ candle. If greens are normally used consider substituting a straw or twig wreath (available at craft shows). If the following processional dramas are used, the table will be built each week as symbols of the speaker’s scriptures are placed upon the table. The symbols added will include a musical instrument, walking staff, large white feather, yarn and knitting needles, and straw or fresh spun wool.

Lighting of the Advent Candles:

A candle lighting liturgy is included to be read by one or more voices as candles are lighted each week. Families are encouraged to participate recognizing that the term “family” be interpreted to include a variety of groupings such as grandparents, single parents and children, youth groups, and so forth.“La Paz Sea Contigo” will be sung each week beginning with one verse and building until four verses are sung. The verses provided include paz, peace; amor, love; espiritu, spirit. A fourth has been added: julilo, joy. This song reminds us that God is present for Advent in all regions of the world and in all languages.

Processional Dramas:

Each week a simple drama is offered for the processional highlighting the Advent scriptures and the Christmas story as it unfolds. Scripts may be used, although speakers need to be very familiar with the text to speak naturally. Rehearsals are suggested. When possible, actors learn the story well enough to speak in their own words. An actor from each processional drama may return to lead the benediction if desired.

Seed Thoughts for Advent, 2011  was written by the Rev. Penny L. Lowes, an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ and a free lance writer. She has served two UCC congregations, most recently for seven years as the Senior Pastor at the Congregational Church or Birmingham, UCC in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.

Copyright 2011 Local Church Ministries, Congregational Vitality and Discipleship Ministry Team, United Church of Christ, 700 Prospect Avenue, Cleveland, OH  44115-1100.  Permission granted to reproduce or adapt this material for use in services of worship or church education.  All publishing rights reserved. 

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Rev. Susan A. Blain
Minister for Worship, Liturgy and Spiritual Formation
700 Prospect Ave.
Cleveland, Ohio 44115
216-736-3869
blains@ucc.org