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Advent Lessons and Carols

This service is a wonderful option for churches that would like to set aside an intentional preparation for the celebration of Christmas while still retaining the integrity of Advent as a separate season.  There is quite a bit of variation possible with the format -- all nine lessons may be used; others (indicated in parentheses) may be substituted; the service may also be shortened to as few as four or five lessons.  The responses to the scripture readings may be either congregational hymns, choral anthems, or both.   The service also allows for processional opportunities -- the clergy and choir (and, depending on the particularities of congregation and architecture, the entire assembly) may begin at the West end of the nave, processing through various stations up the nave for various readings and responses, arriving at the high altar for the final responsory and closing prayers.  Although this service is very effective as an evening service, some churches find it suitable to incorporate as the Liturgy of the Word (before Communion), especially on Advent I or Advent IV.

Prelude   

Introit


Opening Hymn or Processional


The Bidding Prayer  (traditional or contemporary)

(traditional)
Beloved in Christ, in this season of Advent, let it be our care and delight to prepare ourselves to hear again the message of the Angels, and in heart and mind to go even unto Bethlehem, to see the Babe lying in a manger. Let us read and mark in Holy Scripture the tale of the loving purposes of God from the first days of our disobedience unto the glorious Redemption brought us by his holy Child; and let us look forward to the yearly remembrance of his birth with hymns and songs of praise. But first, let us pray for the needs of the whole world; for peace and goodwill over all the earth; for the mission and unity of the Church for which he died, and especially in this country and within this city. And because this of all things would rejoice his heart, let us at this time remember in his name the poor and the helpless; the hungry and the oppressed; the sick and those who mourn; the lonely and the unloved; the aged and the little children; and all those who know not the Lord Jesus, or who love him not, or who by sin have grieved his heart of love. Lastly, let us remember before God his pure and lowly Mother, and all those who rejoice with us, but upon another shore and in a greater light, that multitude which no one can number, whose hope was in the Word made flesh, and whom, in this Lord Jesus, we for evermore are one.
These prayer and praises let us humbly offer up to the throne of heaven, in the words which Christ himself hath taught us:

Our Father... (The Lord’s Prayer in unison)

The Almighty God bless us with his grace; Christ give us the joys of everlasting life; and unto the fellowship of the citizens above may the King of Angels bring us all. Amen.

(contemporary)
Dear People of God: In the season of Advent, it is our responsibility and joy to prepare ourselves to hear once more the message of the Angels, to go even to Bethlehem and see the Son of God lying in a manger. Let us hear and heed in Holy Scripture the story of the God’s loving purpose from the time of our rebellion against Him until the glorious redemption brought to us by his holy Child Jesus; and let us look forward to the yearly remembrance of his birth with hymns and songs of praise. But first, let us pray for the needs of the whole world; for peace and justice onl the earth; for the unity and mission of the Church for which he died, and especially for his Church in our country and in this city. And because he particularly loves them, let us remember in his name the poor and helpless; the cold, the hungry and the oppressed; the sick and those who mourn; the lonely and the unloved; the aged and the little children; as well as those who do not know and love the Lord Jesus Christ. Finally, let us remember before God his pure and lowly Mother, and that whole multitude which no one can number, whose hope was in the Word made flesh, and whom, in Jesus, we are one for evermore. And now, to sum up all these petitions, let us pray in the words which Christ himself has taught us:

Our Father... (the Lord’s Prayer in unison)

The Almighty God bless us with his grace; Christ give us the joys of everlasting life; and to the fellowship of the citizens above may the King of Angels bring us all. Amen.

First Lesson   
Genesis 3:1-22 or 3:1-15 (Or, Isaiah 60: 1-5)
After the reading: Thanks be to God.  Or,  Here ends the lesson.

Anthem


Second Lesson    
Jeremiah 31:31-34 (Or, Isaiah 11: 1-9)
After the reading: Thanks be to God.  Or, Here ends the lesson.

Anthem       


Third Lesson    
Baruch 4:36 - 5:9 (Or, Isaiah 65:17-25)
After the reading: Thanks be to God.

Anthem

Fourth Lesson    
Isaiah 40: 1-11
After the reading: Thanks be to God.

Anthem


Fifth Lesson   
Isaiah 64:1-9a
After the reading: Thanks be to God. Or, Here ends the lesson.

Anthem


Sixth Lesson    
Zephaniah 3:14-18 (Or, Isaiah 35:1-10)
After the reading: Thanks be to God.  Or, Here ends the lesson.

Anthem

Seventh Lesson   
Isaiah 7:10-15
After the reading: Thanks be to God.

Anthem


Eighth Lesson    
Micah 5:2-4
After the reading: Thanks be to God.

Anthem


Ninth Lesson   
St. Luke 1:26-38 or 1:26-56
After the reading: Thanks be to God.

Hymn/Anthem


Prayer
Almighty God, give us grace to cast away the works of darkness and to put on the armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life, in which your Son Jesus Christ came to us in great humility; that on the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge the living and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

O Lord our God, make us watchful and keep us faithful as we await the coming of your Son our Lord; that, when he shall appear, he may not find us sleeping in sin but active in his service and joyful in his praise; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

[The following may be chanted on a monotone, descending a minor third on the final syllable of each line]
 Leader:    Judah and Jerusalem, fear not, nor be dismayed;
People:    Tomorrow go ye forth, and the Lord, he will be with you.
Leader:    Stand ye still, and ye shall see the salvation of the Lord.
People:    Tomorrow go ye forth, and the Lord, he will be with you.
Leader:    Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.
People:    Tomorrow go ye forth, and the Lord, he will be with you.
Leader:    We wait for thy loving-kindness, O Lord.
People:    In the midst of thy temple.

Prayer
(Traditional Language)

Almighty God, give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness, and put upon us the armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which thy Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the quick and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

(Contemporary Language)
Almighty God, give us grace to cast away the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which your Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the living and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.


Blessing

Christ the Sun of Righteousness shine upon you and scatter the darkness from before your path; and the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be among you, and remain with you always. Amen.

Closing Hymn

Postlude

Contact

Mark Schweizer
P.O. Box 249
Tryon, North Carolina 28782
Phone 828.859.0323
Toll Free 877.822.0304

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