Advent Candle Lighting Litanies

Advent Candle Lighting Litanies
 

Advent means “coming.”  It is a time of longing, watching, and praying for God’s healing, transformative presence to be ever more vibrantly present in the world.  In this sense, Advent is a season in which we focus on that key phrase in the Lord’s Prayer, “thy kingdom come.”  As Christians, the good news we strive to live by and declare is that love is stronger than hate, peace more enduring than war, hope more powerful than despair – and the light of God's love will extinguish forever the shadows of shame cast by violence, suffering, sorrow, and hate.

To help proclaim that God's new world is at hand, we have written four "alternative" candle lighting litanies for personal or congregation use during the holy season of Advent.  Each litany begins by telling the truth about a world that is all too barren of God's hope, peace, joy, and love.  Then, after the candle has been lit, we cry out with all people of faith - past, present, and future - that God is, even now, overwhelming the world!

Feel free to use these wherever you go this Advent - proclaiming all the while that the night sky always gives way to the dawn.

Hope

Reader One:  When I look around, I see shadows of hunger, so many people in this city and around the world will go to bed hungry tonight…

Reader Two:  When I look around, I see shadows of injustice, the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer, everyone saying, "Buy, buy, buy!" and someone somewhere will fall asleep under a bridge tonight….

Reader One:  In the face of hunger, we light a candle of hope…

Reader Two:  In the face of injustice and despair, we light a candle of hope…  (Light the first candle in your Advent wreath.)

Reader One:  Let the light from this candle say to all that God’s hope is coming on earth as it already is in heaven…

Reader Two:  Friends, be not afraid, God’s hope is at hand…

Peace

Reader One:  Because of war, because of what happened in Ferguson, because there is still so much unrest in Jerusalem, we light a candle of peace...

Reader Two:  Because hatred is still so strong, because so many swords have not yet been beaten into plowshares, we light a candle of peace…  (Light the second candle in your Advent wreath.)

Reader One:  May the light from this candle overwhelm the world...

Reader Two:  May the light from this candle say to all that God’s peace is coming on earth as it already is in heaven…

Reader One:  Friends, be not afraid, God’s peace is at hand…

Joy

Reader One:  When I look around, I see shadows of sadness, families in homeless shelters, people in prison, people who have become invisible and forgotten...

Reader Two:  When I look around, I see shadows of grief and loss, people dreading the holidays because they've lost a loved one, because they're recently divorced, because they don't want to spend another Christmas alone… (Light the third candle in your Advent wreath.)

Reader One:  In the face of sadness, we light a candle of joy...

Reader Two:  In the face of grief and loss, we light a candle of joy...

Reader One:  May the light from this candle overwhelm the world...

Reader Two:  May the light from this candle say to all that God’s joy is coming on earth as it already is in heaven…

Reader One:  Brothers and sisters in Christ, be not afraid, God’s joy is at hand…

Love

Reader One:  Because too many people are wandering in the wilderness, because too many people are sitting in the valley of the shadow of death, we light candles…

Reader Two:  Because people all over the world are suffering and we are too busy to notice, we light candles… 

Reader One:  Today we stop everything and light these candles: one for hope, one for peace, one for joy, and one for love… (Light the fourth candle in your Advent wreath.)

Reader Two:  May the light from these candles overwhelm the world… 

Reader One:  May the light from these candles illuminate the valley of the shadow of death…

Reader Two:  May the light and the fire from these candles burn away everything that is preventing God Love from being born among us…

Reader One:  Brother and sisters, be not afraid, even now - even now - God’s love is overwhelming the world...