Resources For Planning Advent Worship

Source: The Complete Library of Christian Worship, Robert E. Webber, General Editor

Planning Advent worship is a great challenge, given its short duration and the rich and varied resources that are available. The following entries present a collection of such resources, ranging from texts appropriate for reading and praying to artistic contributions to Advent worship. These range from centuries-old hymns and symbols to prayers written especially for this resource.

Lectionary Texts For Advent

The following are the texts suggested for the Sundays of Advent in the Revised Common Lectionary. Brief descriptions of each lesson are provided to aid in recalling the basic theme of each passage.

Lighting The Advent Candle

The custom of lighting Advent candles in expectation of the coming of Christ is perhaps the most prevalent symbol in Advent worship. An Advent wreath containing five candles is hung at the front of the church. The four corner candles correspond to the four Sundays of Advent; the center candle represents Christ. Each Sunday one of the candles is lit until the Christmas Eve service when the Christ candle is lit. Normally the candles are lit during the opening acts of worship.

The “o” Antiphons

The seven "O" Antiphons are ancient texts developed for use during the last seven days of Advent (December 1723). Eventually these antiphons were gathered into the well-known hymn "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel. " Today these ancient prayers can be used in a variety of ways during the season of Advent, as the following examples suggest.

Traditional Opening Prayers For Advent

The following prayers, which are used at the opening of worship in many liturgical traditions, are based on centuries-old texts.

Prayers For Advent Worship

Christian prayer takes its inspiration from the Bible. The following prayers for the Advent season are based on images found in Scripture. Brief commentaries follow each prayer, directing worship planners to Scripture passages that can be used in conjunction with each prayer.

Advent Canticles

The song of Zechariah (Luke 1:68-79), also known as the Benedictus Dominus Deus, is the canticle of Advent. It may be used as a call to worship, as an act of praise, or as a response between Scripture readings. Another appropriate canticle for the season of Advent is the Song of Mary (the Magnificat) from Luke 1:46-55.

An Advent Affirmation Of Faith

Use the Nicene Creed, Apostles' Creed, or the following biblical creed for Advent.

Prayer Of Thanksgiving For Advent Eucharist

The following liturgy for the Lord's Supper features images appropriate to the season of Advent. Other texts are included in the sample services in the next chapter.

Advent Blessings

The following blessings are based on traditional texts used in Advent worship. The images they convey are appropriate to the sense of waiting and expectation that is central to Advent worship.