It is wonderful to start the new liturgical year. Advent falls at the darkest time of the year, and the natural symbols of darkness and light are powerfully at work throughout Advent, offering glimpses of restoration and reconciliation. It is one of the most heavily sourced liturgical seasons, and materials are readily available from Catholic, Lutheran, Methodist and Episcopal traditions with a Google search.
The anticipation of Christmas under commercial pressure may make it difficult for church members to sustain alert watchfulness, but the fundamental Advent prayer remains Maranatha – “Our Lord, come” (1 Corinthians 16:22). We mark our watchfulness with the Advent Candles, and a change of vestment color to purple or blue.
Advent is a season of joyous expectation, rather than penitence, although the character of the season can be compared with Lent. A church atmosphere that is simple and intentional about quiet can be a lovely oasis for those exhausted by the Christmas Machine, but it need not be rigid in its insistence on disciples or practices.
We are offering you an Advent worship liturgy this year (both Holy Communion and Word & Prayer) that is taken from Prayers for an Inclusive Church, by Steven Shakespeare (Church Publishing Incorporated, Copyright © 2009), which you may use in its entirety. Prayers for an Inclusive Church is available in paperback and Kindle.
However, if one does not wish to have an entire different liturgy from our BCP for Advent, a simple change would be to just use collects for the Sundays of Advent from the below downloadable service. A worship leader can easily pray the collect without printing it in the bulletin, or otherwise doing any other work. It follows the Scriptural themes within the Revised Common Lectionary.
This is also a source that can be easily used for all seasons, all year. As always, all worship materials should be adjusted to suit your congregation’s need.