An Advent Wreath Ceremony for 2020

Every home should have a circle with four lights. In some places, hybrid churches some people will be in a church building but always we name that the primary place of claiming God’s light is where each person lives. Four electric tea lights and a circle of dark green felt can be easily given to those who need them.

Several years ago Cláudio Carvalhaes, professor of worship at Union Theological Seminary,  suggested that we lament before we light – naming those things which oppose or diminish hope, peace, joy and love. We name them and then claim the power of that light over them. I have always remembered that lesson and in this strange year his insight seems even more true.

Each person would contribute one word or name several of the things which oppose hope or shatter peace, the things we miss that seem so important to joy, the things that numb us to love, and put those words on one or several small pieces of paper in the center of the home wreath and, if possible and willing, in the chat or comments of Zoom or livestream. Many of these may be similar each week – because the same things are quenching all four glowing points of our emotional compass.

First Sunday in Advent

Leader:           

In our homes / in our church and homes
we gather around wreaths
to pray our lost hopes,
broken peace, limited joys,
and love so hard to find and share,
in this season of coronavirus.  
We affirm that our candles mean
we claim the power to call this season Advent
when God’s light comes into the world
and nothing can overcome it.

People / Second Leader (SL) reading for the people:

We light the candle of hope
in the face  of …

[for example: of Covid-19 wildfires, hurricanes,
closed businesses, lost pollinators, missing singing …]

Leader:           

God’s hope shines on hopelessness,
and brightens the path toward peace.

People / SL    

Emmanuel, God be with us, in the week to come, lighting hope
on the wick of our lives so that we may shine on our world. Amen 
            

Second Sunday in Advent

Leader:           

In our homes / in our church and homes
we gather around wreaths
to pray our lost hopes,
broken peace, limited joys,
and love so hard to find and share
in this season of coronavirus.  
We affirm that our candles mean
we claim the power to call this season Advent
when God’s light comes into the world
nothing can overcome it.

We light the candle of hope.   .

People / SL:   

We now light the candle of peace
in spite of:

[examples: gun violence, anger
post-election violence, dangerous homes
depression and addiction …]

Leader:           

God’s peace illuminates the possibility
of reconciliation and healing
and brightens the path to joy.

People / SL:   

Emmanuel, God be with us, in the week to come,
lighting hope and peace on the wick of our lives
so that we may shine on our world. Amen

Third Sunday in Advent

Leader:           

In our homes / in our church and homes
we gather around wreaths
to pray our lost hopes,
broken peace, limited joys,
and love so hard to find and share
in this season of coronavirus.  
We affirm that our candles mean
we claim the power to call this season Advent,
when God’s light comes into the world
and nothing can overcome it.

We light the candles of hope and peace.

People / SL:   

We now light the candle of joy
in spite of missing so many things
we thought were essential to a merry Christmas

[Example: shopping, parties, funerals,
photos with Santa, Christmas visits, school sports,
chances to hug, memorial services]

Leader:           

God’s joy ignites embers under loss and sorrow
and brightens the path to love.

People / SL:   

Emmanuel, God be with us, in the week to come,
lighting hope, peace and joy on the wick of our lives
so that we may shine on our world
with a simple smile, an unexpected laughter. Amen 

Fourth Sunday in Advent

Leader:           

In our homes / in our church and homes
we gather around wreaths
to pray our lost hopes,
broken peace, limited joys,
and love so hard to find and share
in this season of coronavirus.  
We affirm that our candles mean
we claim the power to call this season Advent,
when God’s light comes into the world
and nothing can overcome it.

We light the candles of hope, peace, and joy.

People/ SL:    

We now light the candle of love
even when many things dim our sparkling

[Example: loneliness, racism,
queer bashing, body shaming]

Leader:           

God’s love illuminates hatred and a compassionate heart
and brightens the path to the birth of Christ.

People / SL:   

Emmanuel, God be with us in the week to come
lighting hope, peace, joy and love on the wick of our lives,
so that we may shine on our world
your unconditional welcome to all. Amen.

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16 Responses to An Advent Wreath Ceremony for 2020

  1. Pingback: An Advent Wreath Ceremony for 2020 — Gifts in Open Hands | Hetty Startup, public historian

  2. Maren, this is really deep and lovely. Thank you so much for creating and sharing it.

  3. Deborah Roof says:

    An answer to prayer, Maren. I’ve been looking. This is beautiful!

  4. Jill Sanders says:

    This is so beautiful–and as, whenever I read your work, I am grateful.
    Is it available as a PDF or Word Document?

  5. Pingback: Pandemic Liturgy for Advent – Cooking with Elsa

  6. Pingback: Advent wreath liturgies | pilgrimwr.unitingchurch.org.au

  7. Pingback: Lessons and Carols in Coronatide – Cooking with Elsa

  8. Mike Bone says:

    Your generosity is only matched by your creativity. A gracious Advent to you and yours!

  9. Dawna says:

    Finding this resource was an answer to prayer – in a significant, joyful, aha kind of way! I’ve been sending it to everyone I know who is trying to shape advent faithfully and hopefully. Thank you so much for your care in shaping liturgy and your generosity in sharing.

    • Maren says:

      Thank you so much. I am delighted that it will work for you and others. Please note that I am happy for any abridging, adding, making it yours! Blessed Advent.

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