Advent

“Advent” means “coming” or “arrival.”

During the season of Advent, we celebrate Christ’s coming into the world and watch with expectant hope for his coming again. In its historical origins, the season of Advent was patterned after the season of Lent, a six-week period of penitence and preparation for Easter. Similarly, the four weeks of Advent present an opportunity for communal discernment and personal examination, as the church prepares to celebrate the Nativity of the Lord and looks with hope for Christ’s return.

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Lighting of the Advent Candles (Magnificat)
This set of readings for the lighting of the Advent candles is based on the Magnificat, or Song of Mary, in Luke 1:46-55; this setting of the text is from the Book of Common Worship (575).
At each successive lighting of the Advent candles, all texts from the preceding lightings are read in addition to the text introduced that day.

On the First Sunday of Advent and following Sundays:
Leader: We light this candle [these candles] as a sign of the coming light of Christ,
joining our voices with the joyful song of his mother Mary.
Leader: My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
People: my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.
Leader: For you, O Lord, have looked with favor on your lowly servant. From this day all generations will call me blessed: you, the Almighty, have done great things for me and holy is your name.

And on the Second Sunday of Advent, and at successive lightings:
Leader: You have mercy on those who fear you, from generation to generation.

And on the Third Sunday of Advent, and at successive lightings:
Leader: You have shown strength with your arm, and scattered the proud in their conceit, casting down the mighty from their thrones and lifting up the lowly.

And on the Fourth Sunday of Advent, and at successive lightings:
Leader: You have filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty.

And on the eve of Christmas, or on Christmas Day:
Leader: You have come to the aid of your servant Israel, to remember the promise of mercy, the promise made to our forebears, to Abraham and his children for ever.

On each occasion the lighting of the candles is concluded with:
Leader: My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
People: my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.

Office of Theology and Worship, PC(USA)