In preparation for Advent season, I spent time with my youth planning and designing Advent Candle lighting liturgy. They were allowed to use any part of worship: call to worship, confession, hymns, scripture, sermon, etc. They assigned an Advent word and scripture to each of the four Sundays. They also designed and created the Advent “Candle.”
Instead of an Advent wreath, we built an Advent Light Box. You find more detailed instructions here. We constructed four sheets, using old bible pages. We cut out the words so the light could shine through instead of creating shadows by adding layers of paper.
Once the light box was created, the four layers were attached. The top layer just had the word HOPE.
The second layer had the words HOPE and PEACE. I like how the next word JOY is peeking through.
The third layer is HOPE, PEACE, and JOY.
The last layer is HOPE, PEACE, JOY, AND LOVE.
1st Sunday of Advent: HOPE
Scripture: Mark 13:24-37
“Learn this parable from the fig tree. After its branch becomes tender and it sprouts new leaves, you know that summer is near. (Mark 13:28)
During the sermon time, I read the book “The Last Tree in the City” by Peter Carnavas. Afterwards the Advent Light Box was lit – lighting up the word HOPE. Worshippers were invited to write what gives them hope on a paper fig tree leaf. While “For You, O Lord, My Soul in Stillness Waits” (Glory to God Hymnal #89) is sung, they walked up and hung their leaf on the Christmas tree as a sign of hope.
2nd Sunday of Advent: PEACE
Scripture: Mark 1:1-8
The next layer of the already lit Advent Light Box is peeled away to reveal the words HOPE and PEACE. After the sermon, worshippers were invited to visit prayer stations to reflect on the scripture.
Materials: bags of sand, long wooden sticks, white cloth, glass blocks (or anything to secure the white cloth)
Materials: Noisy items (shells, nails, metal tubes, bells, etc.), string, wooden crosses, markers
Materials: Bowl, Water, Water-dissolvable paper, Markers
3rd Sunday of Advent: JOY
Scripture: Luke 1:26-38
Before the scripture reading, the next layer of the Advent Light Box was peeled away to reveal the words HOPE, PEACE, and JOY. The youth split the scripture reading to read. Afterward they asked worshippers to share out loud what gives them joy?
4th Sunday of Advent: LOVE
Scripture: John 1:6-8, 19-28
After the sermon, the last layer was peeled away to reveal all the words of Advent. Worshippers were then asked to write a name of someone you love or what love means to you on a strip of paper then link the strip with a “neighbor.” Next, hang it on the Christmas tree as a symbol that God’s love is ever present.
I passed out and also used to tell the story this nativity light box to tie the theme into the Advent Light Box.