“Restore Us – Rejoice!” * Advent – Birth of Christ * Psalms, Magnificat, and Isaiah * Advent Wreath Readings and Songs

photo: Maridav

content prepared by Rev. Kathryn M. Schreiber

Advent-Christmas Overview

During Advent-Christmas 2020 season we join the ancient Hebrews calling out to God for the restoration of our nation. We also join in rejoicing as we recognize God’s triumphant response. Content aligns with Year B Advent-Christmas lections. (Please see “Restore Us – Rejoice! Advent-1 Christmas – Advent Wreath and Worship Themes” for content themes and scriptures 12/29/2020.)


Advent 1: Restore Us – Shine Upon Us

National restoration begins with relationship with God; Psalm 80:2-4; 18-20 (LTP)

Advent Candle Reading/Call to Worship

We begin the Advent journey differently this year – each of us in our own homes, separated from one another, keeping distance to save lives.

We begin the Advent journey differently this year – feeling the wound and weight of old and new divisions hoping for a better tomorrow.

We begin the Advent journey differently this year – as one, global community battling a common pandemic awakening to emerging forms of cooperation.

We begin the Advent journey differently this year – joining Jesus’ people calling out to God for the salvation of our nation trusting God’s light will shine.

As we light the First Candle of Advent, we join those who went before, saying: “Restore to us, O God, the light of Your presence, and we shall be saved.” Amen.

Light the First Candle of Advent

(Note: During the four Sundays of Advent we do not light a Christ Candle – we are waiting for the rebirth of the Eternal Christ. We’ll light a new Christ Candle on Christmas Eve/Day – whenever your household celebrates the Birth of Jesus Christ.)

Candle Lighting Song “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” https://youtu.be/Ley1aOPDHCE

Lyrics: JM Neale, Music: French VENTI EMMANUEL (Chalice# ; performed by St. Francis de Sales Church in Ajax, Ontario, Canada. (Used by permission)

Advent 2: Restore Us to Goodness

Aligning to God’s Dream, examining our character and values; Psalm 85:9-14 (LTP)

Advent Candle Reading/Call to Worship

On this Second Sunday of Advent the God of Liberation assures us the intangible will become real taking on flesh and blood, dwelling among us.

God says, “Look for love and fidelity embracing; witness peace and justice sharing a tender kiss. What is truly good will sprout up from the earth and lean down from heaven to restore humanity.”

May we pivot our hearts toward God’s peace expecting divine glory to spread across the land where uncivil wars now divide us.

As we light the Second Candle of Advent, we join those who went before, saying: “The Lord pours out riches, our land springs to life. Justice clears God’s path, justice points the way.” Amen.

Light the Second Candle of Advent

(Note: If you’re using four Advent Candles, please relight the one you lit last week plus a second one this week. If you’re only using one candle, this week it is the “Second Candle” of Advent. Remember, during the four Sundays of Advent we do not light a Christ Candle – we are waiting for the rebirth of the Eternal Christ. We’ll light a new Christ Candle on Christmas Eve/Day – whenever your household celebrates the Birth of Jesus Christ.)

Candle Lighting Song “Come Thou Long-Expected Jesus” https://youtu.be/vRAFQCOkjgE

Lyrics: C Wesley; Music: RH Prichard HYFRYDOL (Chalice #125); Performed by Red Mountain Music

Advent 3: Restore Us to Abundance

A nation looks back in sorrow and looks forward with joy; Psalm 126 (LTP)

Advent Candle Reading/Call to Worship

Once upon a time we were free to sing and dance – together! Remember when our arms and bellies were so very full and we didn’t even realize how blessed we were?

Once upon a time we were free to work side by side! Remember when we planted the seeds of service and prayer sweating together in good labor and singing together in the pews?

God will bring us back and bring us back better. Our tears will dry up. We will laugh and rejoice!

As we light the Third Candle of Advent, we join those who went before, saying: “Lord, bring us back as water to a thirsty land. Those sowing in tears reap, singing, and laughing.” Amen.

Light the Third Candle of Advent

(Note: If you’re using four Advent Candles, please relight the two candles lit the last two weeks plus a third one this week. If you’re only using one candle, this week it is the “Third Candle” of Advent. Remember, during the four Sundays of Advent we do not light a Christ Candle – we are waiting for the rebirth of the Eternal Christ. We’ll light a new Christ Candle on Christmas Eve/Day – whenever your household celebrates the Birth of Jesus Christ.)

Candle Lighting Song “People, Look East” https://youtu.be/F8GNlRcBdvs

Lyrics: E Farjeon, Music: traditional French carol BESANCON (Chalice #142); unknown performer

Advent 4: Restore Us to Justice

We join Mary praising God’s Dream for Humanity; Luke 1:46b-55 (NRSV, adapted)

Advent Candle Reading/Call to Worship

Today, we light all four Advent Candles with Mary, the mother of Jesus. Pregnant with the Hope of the World – the Messiah:

Mary sings of a God who scatters the thoughts of The Proud.

Mary sings of a God who brings down The Powerful.

Mary sings of a God who lifts up The Lowly.

Mary sings of a God who feeds The Hungry.

Mary sings of a God who questions The Rich.

May we share Mary’s belief in God’s eternal faithfulness, perpetual mercy, commitment to justice, and ongoing compassion. Let us rejoice! The rebirth of Christ is near! Amen.

Light the Fourth Candle of Advent

(Note: If you’re using four Advent Candles, please relight the three candles lit the last three weeks plus a fourth one this week. If you’re only using one candle, this week it is the “Fourth Candle” of Advent. Remember, during the four Sundays of Advent we do not light a Christ Candle – we are waiting for the rebirth of the Eternal Christ. We’ll light a new Christ Candle on Christmas Eve.)

Candle Lighting Song “Awake! Awake and Greet the New Morn” https://youtu.be/UKxm6gQEwgQ

Lyrics and Music: Marty Haugen REJOICE, REJOICE (Chalice #138); Performed by: Jason Meissner

Christmas Eve: Rejoice! Newborn Hope

The Prince of Peace Emerges from Suffering; Isaiah 9:2-7 (NRSV, adapted)

Advent Candles & Christ Candle

Reading/Call to Worship, etc will post later in December

Notes

Additional Advent-Christmas materials can be found online as blogs published at www.inthebiglove.com. See blog for free content.

Online Publishing Date: November 29, 2020.

Worship Resources: All content prepared and written by Rev. Kathryn M. Schreiber unless attributed to another source.

(LTP) The Psalter: A faithful and inclusive rendering from the Hebrew into contemporary English poetry, intended primarily for communal song and recitation. Liturgical Training Press ©1994

(Chalice) The Chalice Hymnal and (New Century) The New Century Hymnal, among other worship publications, have suspended copyright restrictions during the coronavirus pandemic.

Permission: Permission is not granted to share or distribute this resource beyond your community without additional permission from the author.

Donation for Use of Content: Due to the current coronavirus pandemic this content is offered free. However,  you may express your gratitude financially by supporting any effort to uplift your neighbors. Here in the SF Bay Area we’re encouraging donations to the Alameda County Food Bank. If you’d like to support the congregation I serve as pastor – Berkeley Chinese Community Church – we’d be most grateful for your support. Please send checks to: BCCC UCC, 2117 Acton Street, Berkeley, CA 94702, Attn: Diane Huie, Treasurer. Thank you!

Living Liturgies: www.inthebiglove.com; Facebook: “Living Liturgies”; YouTube: “Kathryn Schreiber”

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