Lighting the First Candle of Advent

A Call to Worship Lighting of the Advent Candles

Today we begin our celebration of Advent.  On the four Sundays leading up to Christmas, we will rejoice in the gift that is ours in Jesus Christ.  
To help us celebrate, we will be lighting the candles of the Advent wreath.  
The candles signify that Jesus is the Light of the World.   The evergreens remind us that He is life and brings life to us.   The candles are arranged in a circle because life in Christ has no end.
Each Sunday we will light an additional candle.  On Christmas Eve, we will light all the candles, including the center one, the Christ candle.  As we do, we will rejoice that Christ has come to us.
Today we light the candle of hope.
On this first Sunday of Advent, a season of possibilities, a time of  "not yet"  we light the candle of hope.  
Hope is our assurance that God will finish all He has started.  Hope is our confidence that He will do all He has promised.
The yes to all of God's promises is in Christ.
(2 Corinthians 1:20)
Thanks be to God for his gift that is too wonderful to describe.    
(2 Corinthians 9:15)     

Responsive Reading

Leader:  Restore us, O God; let your face shine, that we may be saved.
All:  When hope is lost, restore us, o God.
Leader:   When people are hurting, restore us, O God.
All:  When nations are fighting, restore us, O God. 
Leader:   When children are hungry, restore us, O God. 
All:  Restore us, God of Life.  Bring us closer to hope. 
Leader:  Restore us, O God; let your face shine, that we may be saved. 
All:  Amen.
Call to Worshp Video - First Sunday of Advent

Luke 1:26,28-38 (Easy to Read Version)

26 During Elizabeth's sixth month of pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to a virgin girl who lived in Nazareth, a town in Galilee.  She was engaged to marry a man named Joseph from the family of David.  Her name was Mary.
28 The angel came to her and said, "Greetings!    The Lord is with you; you are very special to him."
29 But Mary was very confused about what the angel said.  She wondered, "What does this mean?"
30 The angel said to her, "Don't be afraid, Mary, because God is very pleased with you.  
31 Listen!  You will become pregnant and have a baby boy.  You will name him Jesus.
32 He will be great.  People will call him the Son of the Most High God, and the Lord God will make him king like his ancestor David.  
33 He will rule over the people of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end."
34 Mary said to the angel, "How will this happen?   I am still a virgin."  
35 The angel said to Mary, "The Holy Spirit will come to you, and the power of the Most High God will cover you.  The baby will be holy and will be called the Son of God.
36 And here's something else: Your relative Elizabeth is pregnant.  She is very old, but she is going to have a son.  Everyone thought she could not have a baby, but she has been pregnant now for six months.  
37 God can do anything!"
38 Mary said, "I am the servant of the Lord God.  Let this thing you have said happen to me!"  Then the angel went away.
The Glory of Christmas - Yvonne Templeton Speaking about Mary