Readings for lighting the Advent Candles

We’ll be sharing these readings together each Sunday at 4pm on FB Live and YouTube from the 29th of November as we light the Advent Candles together. You can read these with us or on your own at home.

Find out how to make your own simple Advent Wreath here.

You can download these readings as a printable booklet here.

1st Sunday of Advent (29th November): HOPE

As winter days dim and bow to early darkness, you, God of light, set watch in the night sky and beckon the wise to follow.

When hope hangs low in the human heart, you, loving creator, kindle compassion, breathing life into the early embers of change and empathy.

Light the candle.
We light a candle for hope, sending prayers high into the inky heavens and dreams deep into the human soul. As Advent dawns, God of all hope, shine your light on the story of the saints who journeyed before us. May the seeds they planted in the world – peace, joy, love – take hold in our hearts and stretch towards the light.

All: We light a candle for hope. May it light the way.

2nd Sunday of Advent (6th December): PEACE

In the settle and stir of a burnt-orange sunrise, in the lilting laughter or memory of a table full of friends, in the flash of clarity that turns on the light of insight and leads us towards wisdom, we find the peace that passes all understanding. But there are things we need to understand. Help us hear you in the stories of those who struggle. Peace is what the prophets foretold. Peace is what is sacrificed when profit takes precedence.

All: We light a candle for peace and pray for the courage to stand up for it.

Light two candles.
In this second week of Advent, as the waiting and expectation heighten, deepen our desire for peace. Like the wise called to journey in those early dawning days, may we seek, strive, search for peace. Like the prophets old and new, may we cry out for its coming.

All: We light a candle for peace. May it light the way.

3rd Sunday of Advent (13th December): JOY

Uncontainable, irrepressible, bubbling up in an explosion of energy. What the weary long for, what children often embody, what makes the Divine smile – joy. It cannot be paid for, but is a priceless treasure. As we hope for your arrival, as we pray for peace in your living, as we wait and watch and wonder how you might reveal yourself to us, God give us joy in your Advent.

Light three candles.

Joy is not a commodity that can be bought or sold, but lives deep in the human spirit. Help us to hear that truth and believe it. Let go of what our consumer culture says will bring us happiness – money, success, a scramble to the top that leaves us flat. If we have robbed others of what they need in our clamour and quest for more than our fair share, forgive us. Help us hear the call of John the Baptist to turn around and begin again. God of love, we were made in joy. May we live that way.

All: We light a candle for joy. May it light the way.

4th Sunday of Advent (20th December): LOVE

Let your light shine. Let your spirit soar. Throw open your mind. Hand over your heart. Here it comes – love. It shines in the darkness. It sings in the shadows. It will not cower and cannot be contained.

It was the hope of the saints, the call of the prophets. It was the fire in the belly of the Baptist and the courage of Mother Mary. Lamp in the window, beacon on the hill, star in the night sky. Love, you lead us home.

Light four candles.
On this fourth Sunday of Advent, we light a candle for love.
All: We light a candle for love. May it light the way.

Christmas Day (25th December) – The Christ Candle

God with us.

Love-shine, your moment has come. In the dark of the womb you waited. Bathed in the balm of the star, you rest. Into a world sorely in need of your light, you are born.

When you knock on our door looking for room, may we welcome you. Like the herald of your birth, call us to share your good news first with those who are poor, excluded and afraid.

All: The light shines in the darkness and the darkness cannot put it out.

Light the Christ candle and all four Advent candles.
The love of heaven has come to Earth. The call of Christ begins in a baby’s cry. Listen and respond.

All: We light the Christ candle. May it light the way.

These beautiful Advent Readings were adapted from those originally made available by Christian Aid as part of their 2016 #LighttheWay campaign. The videos are shared courtesy of the Bible Project.

We’ve offered Mindfulness Colouring sheets to correspond to each week’s reading to those who requested our Advent Packs via post; downloads will also be available for those participating in our Sunday gatherings. If you would like to get a hold of these to reproduce them for use with a group, you can purchase them (quite reasonably!) from Illustrated Ministry. We’re using the set titled ‘Mary’s Song’.