Advent and Christmas, Reflection on the Elements

HollyBeginning with the season of Advent I am offering shared resources from the  Pilgrim Press Anthology called From the Psalms to the Cloud — Connecting with the Digital Era, edited by Maria Mankin and myself is available last week.

A remarkable group of contributors have shared in it their prayers of intercession and worship resources from contemporary and traditional services as well as their reflections about consciously shaping prayers. A selection will be shared every Monday.

Sonja Ingebritsen of Carbondale, Illinois, offers a unique lighting of candles for Advent which could be done each week or as a special service.

During Advent, the image of the wreath and candles offers an opportunity to explore a familiar idea with fresh eyes. Think about how it might be possible to stretch the congregation in new directions while remaining grounded in a beloved part of worship.

Advent and Christmas, “Elements:”

Time of Centering, Advent Season:
One: Incarnation of North, ignite in us refining fire.
Many: Enliven us with your regenerative flame.
silence
One: Incarnation of East, shape us with water.
Many: Increase our surrender to your loving flow.
silence
One: Incarnation of South, root us in earth.
Many: Reveal to us your embodied presence.
silence
One: Incarnation of West, breathe in us air.
Many: Animate us by the inspiration of your Spirit.
silence

Candle Lighting:

First week of Advent: Fire

Our first Advent candle honors fire.
Fire gives us light.
Fire provides warmth.
Fire clears space for new life.
With our first Advent candle we remember the Star of Bethlehem.
We remember the fire of love in the hearts of those who follow the Star, even now.
With Mary, who said yes to the spark of life in her body,
and with the shepherds and magi, who followed the fire sign in the sky,
we light this candle to represent your incarnation through fire.

Prayer of Dedication, First week of Advent:
Spark of Life and Fire of our Bones,
bring us to life through our gifts and our service.
Stoke the most hesitant flame into an inferno of love,
and encourage even our cooling embers
to combust into flames of justice.  Amen.

Second week of Advent: Water

Our first Advent candle honors flame.
Our second Advent candle honors water.
We are all cradled in water,
brought to life in water,
and sustained by water.
We are baptized in water,
refreshed by water,
and receive the gift of Living Water.
With Mary, who carried Jesus in the water of her womb,
and with John, who baptized Jesus in the waters of the Jordan,
we light this candle to represent your incarnation through water.

Prayer of Dedication, Second week of Advent:

Water of Life, Flow of Grace,
break over us and wear away every resistance,
so that our surrender to your generous ways is complete,
and we tumble along in the stream of your will.  Amen.

Third week of Advent: Earth

Our first Advent candle honors flame.
Our second Advent candle honors water.
Our third Advent candle honors earth.
From the dirt on which the donkey trod
to the straw in the stable,
from the baby in the manger,
to the seventh generation beyond our lives,
we see your imprint on the world.
We light this candle to represent your incarnation
through the element of earth.

Prayer of Dedication, Third week of Advent:
You plant your blessings in our lives, Ground of Being,
that we might become blessing to others.
Receive our gratitude for allowing us to participate
in the care of your whole creation.  Amen.

Fourth week of Advent: Air

Our first Advent candle honors flame.
Our second Advent candle honors water.
Our third Advent candle honors earth.
Our fourth Advent candle honors air.
The infant Jesus’ first cry will come
from a scoop of breath into his lungs.
Breath of Life, Breath of Being,
may we inhale you deeply and,
like Jesus, cry out
your song of love,
your song of joy,
your song of justice.
We light this candle to represent your incarnation
Through the element of air.

Prayer of Dedication, Fourth week of Advent:

Animating One, who pours your Spirit into each life,
may the gifts we offer in our gratitude
inspire hope where there is despair and
righteousness where there is injustice.
Send your winds of creativity to disturb
any stagnation of our talent and treasure
so they may become new expressions
of your presence blowing among us.  Amen.

Christmas Eve:

With creation, we’ve waited.
With creation, we’ve prepared.
With creation, we’ve wondered
where you are sparking new life into creation.

(Light Advent Candle of Fire):

We’ve wondered how your current of
persistent love is shaping yet our souls,

(Light Advent Candle of Water):

We’ve wondered where in creation and
from what body your body will emerge,

(Light Advent Candle of Earth):

And we’ve wondered how your breath will inspire.

(Light Advent Candle of Air):

We’ve wondered, all the while held in hope.
Now our hopes are fulfilled.
Our light has come!

(Light Christmas Candle)

PsalmstotheCloud_REV-1Learn more here…

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One Response to Advent and Christmas, Reflection on the Elements

  1. Rosalie Sugrue says:

    Blessed be

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