Last year, I had the humbling opportunity to help our friend, Patrick Johnson, write the liturgy for our church’s advent season. With his blessing, I am sharing it here with you all. This season has been dark – very dark – for many people. But there is hope – a starlit glimmer in the night, a lighthouse beacon calling us home, a spark of warmth to dispel the cold. May you and yours chase this light and ultimately find hope, love, joy, peace, and Christ this Advent season.
1st week: HOPE
For the HOPE that He has given, Come, let us adore Him.
We come to the Father as children, weakened and wavering, overwhelmed at times by sickness, injustice, and our own fragile mortality.
We have HOPE in Christ, the newborn.
Even the seas and skies of Your own creation quake and groan beneath the weight of darkness that seeks to suppress Your Word.
We have HOPE in Christ, the Lamb.
We have seen the glow of your Holy Light shining in the darkness. And we run to You, desperate to return to a home we’ve never seen.
We have HOPE in Christ, The King.
“He dawns on them like morning light, like the sun shining forth on a cloudless morning, like rain that makes grass sprout from the earth.” 2 Samuel 23:4
2nd week: LOVE
For the LOVE that He has shown, Come, let us adore Him.
It was out of the Father’s great LOVE that He sent his only begotten – fully man, fully God, and fully with us – to save us from ourselves.
May we love with gratitude, because He first loved us.
How much You must have loved us to pour out Your own Living Water so we could be cleansed of sin and shame. No greater love than this exists.
May we love with humility, because He first loved us.
And so we pray that our hearts would be stirred so that we, like Christ, would value kingdom over self and love our neighbors well.
May we love with servitude, because He first loved us.
1 John 4:16: “And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.”
3rd week: JOY
For the JOY that He brings, Come, let us adore Him.
Oh, what trembling joy the shepherds must have felt as the angels appeared to them. “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”
Let us rejoice in God’s faithfulness.
Oh, what fearful joy Mary must have felt at the empty tomb. “He is not here. He has risen!”
Let us rejoice in God’s victory.
Oh, what eternal joy we shall feel at the fulfillment of God’s final promise, when all tears are dried, all hearts are mended, and all things broken have been made new.
Let us rejoice in God’s restoration.
“Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.” John 16:22
4th week: Peace
For the promise of PEACE, Come, let us adore Him.
We gather together, descendants of Adam and heirs of pride and sin, and yet reconciled to the Father through the Son. He did not abandon us to ourselves.
The Prince of Peace made a way through the Fall.
He calmed the storm with his command, healed the sick with his touch, and rescued the lost with His birth and His blood. He did not abandon us to death.
The Prince of Peace made a way through His death.
He has promised His return. What then, do we have to fear during our sojourn? Surely, if we are cloaked in God’s Holy Light and His Spirit dwells within us, so too, we must rest assured of His victory.
The Prince of Peace will make a way through His return.
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6
Christmas Eve: CHRIST
Emanuel, God is with us, Come, let us adore Him.
May our celebration of this precious gift not be limited to this gathering here or to one single day, but may our hearts be ever mindful of the Holy Night.
Glory to the newborn King.
May we remember the promises of Your Hope, Love, Joy, and Peace in every gift shared, in every twinkling light that adorns our homes, and in every word we sing this Eve.
Glory to the Lamb of God.
May your light spread as wildfire, purifying this broken world and transforming our hearts into vessels of the divine Holy Light of our salvation.
Glory to the King of Kings.