McGrew's MiscellaneaAdvent

An Abbreviated Advent Celebration
Introducing a Holiday Celebration of Christ's Birth

I use this abbreviated Advent celebration when I introduce others to Advent. It uses the same themes and Advent candles as the complete Advent celebration, but includes less scripture reading and less singing, allowing me to lead the entire celebration (from the Prophets to the Savior) in only 15–20 minutes. It works well when five group members take turns reading the scripture passages and lighting the candles, with entire group singing the hymns and carols.

The Gold Candle for the Prophets


The people walking in darkness
    have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of the shadow of death
    a light has dawned.

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 9:2,6 (NIV)

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

9th century Latin; translation by John M. Neale [public domain]

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 Dayspring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
And death's dark shadows put to flight

The White Candle for the Angels


The angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I am bringing you good news that will be a great joy to all the people. Today your Savior was born in the town of David. He is Christ, the Lord. This is how you will know him: You will find a baby wrapped in pieces of cloth and lying in a feeding box."

Then a very large group of angels from heaven joined the first angel, praising God and saying:

"Give glory to God in heaven,
    and on earth let there be peace among the people who please God."

Luke 2:10-14 (NCV)

Hark! the Herald Angels Sing

Charles Wesley [public domain]

Hark! the herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn king
Peace on earth, and mercy mild
God and sinners reconciled!"
Joyful, all ye nations, rise
Join the triumph of the skies
With th' angelic host proclaim
"Christ is born in Bethlehem!"

Hark! the herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn king"

Christ, by highest heav'n adored
Christ, the everlasting Lord
Late in time behold Him come
Offspring of the virgin's womb
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see
Hail th' incarnate deity
Pleased as man with men to dwell
Jesus, our Emmanuel

The Green Candle for the Shepherds


When the angels left them and went back to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, "Let's go to Bethlehem. Let's see this thing that has happened which the Lord has told us about."

So the shepherds went quickly and found Mary and Joseph and the baby, who was lying in a feeding box. When they had seen him, they told what the angels had said about this child. Everyone was amazed at what the shepherds said to them. Then the shepherds went back to their sheep, praising God and thanking him for everything they had seen and heard. It had been just as the angel had told them.

Luke 2:15-18,20 (NCV)

How Great Our Joy

Traditional German carol [public domain]

While by the sheep we watched at night
Glad tidings brought an angel bright

How great our joy (great our joy)
Joy, joy, joy (joy, joy, joy)
Praise we the Lord in heav'n on high
Praise we the Lord in heav'n on high

There shall be born, so he did say
In Bethlehem a Child today

There shall the Child lie in a stall
This Child who shall redeem us all

This gift of God we'll cherish well
That ever joy our hearts shall fill

The Blue Candle for the Magi


When Jesus was born, some wise men from the east came to Jerusalem. They asked, "Where is the baby who was born to be the king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him."

They came to the house where the child was and saw him with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. They opened their gifts and gave him treasures of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

Matthew 2:1b-2,11 (NCV)

We Three Kings

John H. Hopkins, Jr. [public domain]

We three kings of Orient are
Bearing gifts we traverse afar
Field and fountain, moor and mountain
Following yonder star

O star of wonder, star of night
Star with royal beauty bright
Westward leading, still proceeding
Guide us to thy perfect light

Born a King on Bethlehem's plain
Gold I bring to crown Him again
King forever, ceasing never
Over us all to reign

Frankincense to offer have I
Incense owns a Deity nigh
Prayer and praising, all men raising
Worship Him, God on high

Myrrh is mine, its bitter perfume
Breathes a life of gathering gloom
Sorr'wing, sighing, bleeding, dying
Sealed in the stone-cold tomb

The Red Candle for the Savior


He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of King David, his ancestor. He will rule over the people of Jacob forever, and his kingdom will never end."

Luke 1:32-33 (NCV)

Joy to the World

Isaac Watts [public domain]

Joy to the world! The Lord is come
Let earth receive her King
Let ev'ry heart prepare him room
And heav'n and nature sing
And heav'n and nature sing
And heav'n, and heav'n and nature sing

Joy to the earth! The Savior reigns
Let men their songs employ
While fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains
Repeat the sounding joy
Repeat the sounding joy
Repeat, repeat the sounding joy

He rules the world with truth and grace
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness
And wonders of His love
And wonders of His love
And wonders, wonders of His love

See Also