Advent Candle Lighting - Year B

Advent B-1

Mark 13:24-37 (CEB)

 24 “In those days, after the suffering of that time, the sun will become dark,and the moon won’t give its light. 25 The stars will fall from the sky, and the planets and other heavenly bodies will be shaken. 26 Then they will see the Human One[a] coming in the clouds with great power and splendor. 27 Then he will send the angels and gather together his chosen people from the four corners of the earth, from the end of the earth to the end of heaven.

 28 “Learn this parable from the fig tree. After its branch becomes tender and it sprouts new leaves, you know that summer is near. 29 In the same way, when you see these things happening, you know that he’s near, at the door. 30 I assure you that this generation won’t pass away until all these things happen. 31 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will certainly not pass away.
 32 “But nobody knows when that day or hour will come, not the angels in heaven and not the Son. Only the Father knows. 33 Watch out! Stay alert! You don’t know when the time is coming. 34 It is as if someone took a trip, left the household behind, and put the servants in charge, giving each one a job to do, and told the doorkeeper to stay alert. 35 Therefore, stay alert! You don’t know when the head of the household will come, whether in the evening or at midnight, or when the rooster crows in the early morning or at daybreak. 36 Don’t let him show up when you weren’t expecting and find you sleeping. 37 What I say to you, I say to all: Stay alert!”

- - - - - - -

Grandparent(s):
I/We remember when we had more family farms and the food we ate was more locally grown. I/We think we were closer to the changing of the seasons then; like the Bible story of looking at fig trees and knowing what season it was.
            I/We have learned to keep alert to changing times.

Parent(s):
Today we hardly know where our food comes from, but we know when food prices rise. I/We remember hearing about hard times long ago and when jobs were scarce. When we hear the Bible talk about hard times to come, we listen more closely.
            I/We need to keep alert to our changing times.

Child(ren):
We'd like to keep a "lert", too. What's a "lert"?

Grandparent(s):
You know, I/we wondered what a "lert" was when we were growing up. Now I/we think it means what we are when we try to see a bigger picture and how we can make life better for each other.

Parent(s):
Thanks for asking about "lerts", we were wondering about that, too. We think it is about always being ready to see G*D in our life and in our N**ghb*r's life.

Child(ren):
Let's name the first candle "Lert".

Grandparent(s) and Parent(s):
Good idea. We need to keep a "Lert" to help us see what G*D is doing next.

Child(ren):
Repeat after me:
Lert is lit [Lert is lit]

 


 

Advent B-2

Mark 1:1-8 (CEB)

 1 The beginning of the good news about Jesus Christ, God’s Son, 2 happened just as it was written about in the prophecy of Isaiah:
   Look, I am sending my messenger before you.
He will prepare your way,
3 a voice shouting in the wilderness:
      “Prepare the way for the Lord;
      make his paths straight.”

 4 John was in the wilderness calling for people to be baptized to show that they were changing their hearts and lives and wanted God to forgive their sins. 5 Everyone in Judea and all the people of Jerusalem went out to the Jordan River and were being baptized by John as they confessed their sins. 6 John wore clothes made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist. He ate locusts and wild honey. 7 He announced, “One stronger than I am is coming after me. I’m not even worthy to bend over and loosen the strap of his sandals. 8 I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

- - - - - - -

Grandparent(s):
I/We are still smiling about calling the first candle "Lert" instead of Hope or Faith or Love or something religious. This week we hear about Mark beginning Jesus' story with the equivalent of "Once upon a time...".

Parent(s):
I/We are still smiling, too, and wonder if these candles might be messengers to remind us to keep our "Lerts" healthy enough to see G*D at work in our congregation and community.

Child(ren):
What was that about candles ending messes. Did you say candles can be "mess enders"?

Grandparent(s):
I/we think the usual word is "messenger", like G*D is not leaving us on our own, but sending us signs to lead us into a better tomorrow.

Parent(s):
Yes, but sometimes we need to be reminded that we need to clean up or end some current messes so we have the space and energy to move ahead.

Child(ren):
Can we call this second candle "mess ender"? Is that alright in church?

 

Grandparent(s) and Parent(s):
Yes we can. Ending messes is how Baptizer John starts the Jesus story – end the mess in your heart and life so you can better see G*D and follow Jesus.

Child(ren):
Repeat after me:
Lert is lit [Lert is lit]
Mess Ender is lit [Mess Ender is lit]

 



Advent B-3

John 1:6-8, 19-28 (CEB)

 6 A man named John was sent from God. 7 He came as a witness to testify concerning the light, so that through him everyone would believe in the light. 8 He himself wasn’t the light, but his mission was to testify concerning the light.

. . . . . . .

 19 This is John’s testimony when the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him, “Who are you?”
 20 John confessed (he didn’t deny but confessed), “I’m not the Christ.”
 21 They asked him, “Then who are you? Are you Elijah?”
   John said, “I’m not.”
   “Are you the prophet?”
   John answered, “No.”
 22 They asked, “Who are you? We need to give an answer to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?”
 23 John replied,
   “I am a voice crying out in the wilderness,
   Make the Lord’s path straight
   just as the prophet Isaiah said.”
 24 Those sent by the Pharisees 25 asked, “Why do you baptize if you aren’t the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the prophet?”
 26 John answered, “I baptize with water. Someone greater stands among you, whom you don’t recognize. 27 He comes after me, but I’m not worthy to untie his sandal straps.” 28 This encounter took place across the Jordan in Bethany where John was baptizing.

- - - - - - -

Grandparent(s):
Naming candles different names than we are used to is a little confusing. Let's see, the first one was named "Lert" to keep us looking for G*D.

Parent(s):
We've been scratching our head over "Mess Ender". It seemed like a good idea at the time. Maybe we should go back to Hope, Faith, Joy, and Love.

Child(ren):
We like "Lert" and "Mess Ender" because you listened to us and we know more about looking and messes than those other things.

Grandparent(s):
Well, I/we think you're pretty great so we'll try to keep up with you.

Parent(s):
And I/we are proud of you so we'll try to keep up for another week and see if it grows on us.

Child(ren):
OK. What about this week's candle?

Grandparent(s):
Well, this week we hear more about Baptizer John and how confusing life can get when we are living between the past and the future.

Parent(s):
John says someone bringing us closer to G*D is already among us.

Child(ren):
You bring us closer to G*D.

Grandparent(s) and Parent(s):
And you bring us closer to G*D.

Child(ren):
Let's give this candle a big name like "Closer To G*D"!

Grandparent(s) and Parent(s):
That's a good thing for a congregation to do.

Child(ren):
Repeat after me:
Lert is lit [Lert is lit]
Mess Ender is lit [Mess Ender is lit]
Closer to G*D is lit [Closer to G*D is lit]

 



Advent B-4

Luke 1:26-38 (CEB)

 26 When Elizabeth was six months pregnant, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a city in Galilee, 27 to a virgin who was engaged to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David’s house. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 When the angel came to her, he said, “Rejoice, favored one! The Lord is with you!” 29 She was confused by these words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 The angel said, “Don’t be afraid, Mary. God is honoring you. 31 Look! You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32 He will be great and he will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of David his father. 33 He will rule over Jacob’s house forever, and there will be no end to his kingdom.”
 34 Then Mary said to the angel, “How will this happen since I haven’t had sexual relations with a man?”
 35 The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come over you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore, the one who is to be born will be holy. He will be called God’s Son. 36 Look, even in her old age, your relative Elizabeth has conceived a son. This woman who was labeled ‘unable to conceive’ is now six months pregnant. 37 Nothing is impossible for God.”
 38 Then Mary said, “I am the Lord’s servant. Let it be with me just as you have said.” Then the angel left her.

- - - - - - -

Grandparent(s):
I/We think these new names for the candles - let's see - Lert, Mess Ender, and Closer to G*D - are helping me get ready for the surprise of Christmas and not just the same old Christmas.

Parent(s):
Yes, I am (we are) more alert to opportunities to be a messenger helping people better appreciate that G*D is already present with us.

Child(ren):
Your listening to us is a big present. It is even better than something that will break too soon.

Grandparent(s):
In the Bible we hear about old Elizabeth who gets new life. I/We agree - Nothing is impossible for G*D.

Parent(s):
In the Bible we hear about young Mary getting new life. I/We agree - Nothing is impossible for G*D.

 

Child(ren):
Wow. If Nothing is impossible for G*D, then I guess that means Anything is possible.

Grandparent(s):
Yes, I/we have come through much. Anything is possible. Even this congregation can birth a new ministry.

Parent(s):
Yes, I/we get tired living between generations and in the anxiety of today's economy. It's good to know Anything is possible. Even though tired we can perk up and remember the common good as well as our own needs.

Child(ren):
So, is that the name of today's candle, "Anything is possible"?

Grandparent(s) and Parent(s):
Well, . . . . OK. If we can follow stars and shepherds to Baby Jesus, we guess we can follow our children.

Child(ren):
Repeat after me:
Lert is lit [Lert is lit]
Mess Ender is lit [Mess Ender is lit]
Closer to G*D is lit [Closer to G*D is lit]
Anything is Possible is lit [Anything is Possible is lit]

Child(ren):
Come Christmas Eve and hear the name of the middle candle.

 



Christmas Eve B

Luke 2:1-20 (CEB)

 1 In those days Caesar Augustus declared that everyone throughout the empire should be enrolled in the tax lists. 2 This first enrollment occurred when Quirinius governed Syria. 3 Everyone went to their own cities to be enrolled. 4 Since Joseph belonged to David’s house and family line, he went up from the city of Nazareth in Galilee to David’s city, called Bethlehem, in Judea. 5 He went to be enrolled together with Mary, who was promised to him in marriage and who was pregnant. 6 While they were there, the time came for Mary to have her baby. 7 She gave birth to her firstborn child, a son, wrapped him snugly, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the guestroom.

 8 Nearby shepherds were living in the fields, guarding their sheep at night. 9 The Lord’s angel stood before them, the Lord’s glory shone around them, and they were terrified.
 10 The angel said, “Don’t be afraid! Look! I bring good news to you—wonderful, joyous news for all people. 11 Your savior is born today in David’s city. He is Christ the Lord. 12 This is a sign for you: you will find a newborn baby wrapped snugly and lying in a manger.” 13 Suddenly a great assembly of the heavenly forces was with the angel praising God. They said, 14 “Glory to God in heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors.”
 15 When the angels returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go right now to Bethlehem and see what’s happened. Let’s confirm what the Lord has revealed to us.” 16 They went quickly and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger. 17 When they saw this, they reported what they had been told about this child. 18 Everyone who heard it was amazed at what the shepherds told them. 19 Mary committed these things to memory and considered them carefully. 20 The shepherds returned home, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. Everything happened just as they had been told.

- - - - - - -

Grandparent(s):
Well, it has been fun renaming the candles. We even learned more about waiting and yearning for more. Our first candle was to keep us alert to G*D's presence. So we now light "Lert" to remind us to be Alert.

Parent(s):
I/we have remembered that little children can lead us. We liked the second candle the best because we seem to have to clean up so many messes, so we now light "Mess Ender" to remind us to change our ways.

Child(ren):
My/Our favorite was candle three. I/We like to be close to people and to G*D, so now we light "Closer to G*D".

All:
And together we light "Anything is Possible".

Grandparent(s):
Last Sunday you said we should come tonight to learn the name of the middle candle. Is it going to be a short name like "Lert" or a big name like "Closer to G*D"?

Child(ren) to Parent(s):
Please read us the Bible story for tonight.

Parent(s):
OK.
[Read Luke 2:1-20]

Child(ren):
I/We think the big middle candle should have another long name. The shepherds reported about the baby. We should do the same. Let's light a candle named "Report about Baby Jesus".

Grandparent(s) and Parent(s):
Yes, that's the Christ Candle and when we light it we remember we are to report to others what we know about Jesus revealing G*D to us.

All:
Repeat after us:
We are all shepherds [We are all shepherds]
We will report about Baby Jesus [We will report about Baby Jesus]
G*D bless us, every one! [G*D bless us, every one!]