Lighting the Advent Wreath: First Week
You are invited to light your home Advent wreath during the Sunday morning liturgy, joining in the blessing printed here. You may also light the wreath in the evenings—before or after the evening meal, or at the end of the day—with one member of the household taking the leader part and the rest joining in the response, or one person reciting the whole blessing
Leader: Blessed are you, God of Jacob, for you promise to transform weapons of war into implements of planting and harvest and to teach us your way of peace; you promise that our night of sin is far gone and that your day of salvation is dawning.
As we light the first candle on this wreath, wake us from our sleep, wrap us in your light, empower us to live honorably, and guide us along your path of peace.
O house of Jacob, come,
All: let us walk in the light of the Lord. Amen.
Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19
1 Corinthians 1:3-9
“...you have been enriched in him, in speech and knowledge of every kind—just as the testimony of Christ has been strengthened among you—so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gifts as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 1:5b-7)
Paul starts his first letter to the Corinthians with gratitude that the church has been given the grace of these spiritual gifts as they, and he, wait for the revealing of our Lord. Paul, being a clever enough writer to do two things at once, is often encouraging (or even subtly scolding) as he sings praises. And perhaps it’s the season, or the pandemic, or just the mood of the moment but I find myself wondering if Paul wasn’t trying to counsel some patience, some willingness to wait, for the Corinthian Christians.
As someone who preaches and writes about Advent every year, I talk a lot and very earnestly about waiting. We wait for God’s action. And you’d think, from how I preach and write about Advent, that I just think waiting is the most spiritually wonderful state of mind. But the truth is that I struggle to wait. Waiting in line, waiting for news, waiting for a response from a friend or editor or church member—it's no fun and I get worse and worse at it as time goes on.
And more than that, I feel like I’ve become more attuned to the different kinds of waiting we all have to do these days. There’s eager expectation, sullen boredom, poignant longing, dreadful anticipation. All are “waiting” in some sense. And all are present in our Scriptures for Advent and in our relationship with Christ, especially this year. We are slogging through the swirl of feelings that come with looking for some kind of good news, waiting for test results, hoping a friend or relative will recover, or even looking for some indication or mere normalcy on the horizon. Maybe this year, all of our everyday waiting can sharpen our anticipation for the revealing of Jesus Christ our Lord.
I invite you to think today and all season long about the spiritual gifts you have been given, and those you desire to be given, to equip you for the task of waiting. And I invite you to take hold of the assurance that our waiting is not in vain, our expectation is for the greatest good imaginable, and our anticipation of that great revealing will only build us up.
Pray: for health care workers, the people of your church, all those who are lonely or alone in this season, for increase of faith and hope
Our Father, who art in heaven...
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit; as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen.
God's Work. Our hands.