Creating and participating in simple family rituals assists our spiritual formation. Incorporating an Advent Wreath and utilizing readers within your household or church enlarges our sense of family. Readings like this one help us realize we have been grafted into a story larger than our own. Remembering God’s work in the generations before us not only “situates” our present sense of any crisis, but elevates our heritage, deepens our faith, and enlightens our souls. By following the Liturgical Readings[1] assigned to the church each year, we join millions of Christians around the world.

Prior to Lighting the Candle

Bring your family together around the Advent Wreath and explain your intention to join Impact 360 Family this year by sharing in this worship.  Put your hand over your heart and say: “Lord, Jesus, how grateful we are to be grafted into this larger story. Through Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection, we are invited into a story larger than our own. Broaden and strengthen our faith now, as we loan our voices to our ancient forbears, recalling not only the darkness and fear they endured, but the voices of hope you placed within them, and the fulfillment that came in Jesus.”  Amen

In this activity, three readers are sitting before the Advent Wreath, voicing anguish, fear, unease, worry, assurance, vision, and hope.

Reader 1  is the Prophet and needs a strong, somber, slow-voiced pacing.
Reader 2 echoes fear, unease, and worry.
Reader 3 expresses faith and assurance

Reader 1 The Anguish of the Prophet (Isaiah 64:1-9)
Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down, that the mountains would tremble before you!

As when fire sets twigs ablaze and causes water to boil, come down to make your name known to your enemies and cause the nations to quake before you!
For when you did awesome things that we did not expect, you came down, and the mountains trembled before you.

Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him.

You come to the help of those who gladly do right, who remember your ways.
But when we continued to sin against them, you were angry. How then can we be saved?

All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.

No one calls on your name or strives to lay hold of you; for you have hidden your face from us and have given us over to our sins

Reader 2 Voicing Fear
To You, O LORD, I call; My rock, do not be deaf to me, for if You are silent to me, I will become like those who go down to the pit. (Psalm 28:1)

Reader 3 Expressing Faith
For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him. (Psalm 62:5)

Reader 2 Conveying Unease
O God, do not remain quiet; Do not be silent and, O God, do not be still. (Psalm 83:)1

Reader 3 Declaring Intention
I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word, I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning. (Psalm 130:5-6)

Reader 2  Confessing Worry
Will You restrain Yourself at these things, O LORD? Will You keep silent and afflict us beyond measure? (Isaiah 64:12)

Reader 3 Voicing Assurance
Our soul waits for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. (Psalm 33:20)

Reader 2 Pleading Rescue
Lord, you have seen this; do not be silent. Do not be far from me, Lord. Awake, and rise to my defense!  Contend for me, my God and Lord. (Psalm 35:22-23)

Reader 3 Announcing Vision
But as for me, I will look to the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me. (Micah 7:7)

Reader 2 Disclosing Concern
After all this, Lord, will you hold yourself back?   Will you keep silent and punish us beyond measure? (Isaiah 64:12)

Reader 3 Declaring Hope
I will wait for the Lord, who is hiding his face from the house of Jacob, and I will hope in him. (Isaiah 8:17)

Return of Reader 1 Asserting Identity (Isaiah 64:8-9)
Yet you, Lord, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.

Do not be angry beyond measure, Lord; do not remember our sins forever. Oh, look on us, we pray, for we are all your people.

Lighting the Candle of Hope

Read, Sing, Play, or Hum

O come, O come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here,
Until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan’s tyranny;
From depths of hell Thy people save,
And give them victory o’er the grave.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Dayspring, from on high,
And cheer us by Thy drawing nigh;
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
And death’s dark shadows put to flight.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Key of David, come
And open wide our heav’nly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.


Continue in Advent 2020

Dive into last year’s Advent series!