Advent 4 and Christmas: Love

Joyce VanceLiturgical Year, Prayer, Spiritual Practices

Fourth Sunday of Advent and Christmas: We blow out the candle of fear and light the candle of love. Lectionary texts: Isaiah 9:2-7; Luke 2:1-20 A child has been born! During the time of preparation, expectant parents have both joy and fear; hope and anxiety; confidence and doubt. What will the child be like? How will their world change when he or she is born? When will the arrival take place? Will the child be … Read More

Advent 3: Advent Joy

Tammy WiensLiturgical Year, Prayer, Spiritual Practices

Third Sunday of Advent: We blow out the candle of bitterness and light the candle of joy. Lectionary texts: Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11; Luke 1:46-55 Mary’s song in Luke 1 is known as The Magnificat. This title grows out of a Latin tradition where titles assigned to segments of Scripture are based on the first word or line of the text. Magnificat is the Latin word for “magnify.” The lyrics of Mary’s song are a medley … Read More

Advent 2: Advent Peace

Jill Ver SteegLiturgical Year, Prayer, Spiritual Practices

We blow out the candle of confrontation and light the candle of peace. Lectionary Texts: Isaiah 40:1-11, Mark 1:1-8 The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. This is Mark’s way of saying “Genesis.” This is the genesis of all things. Even as Genesis chapter one, verse one, took us out into the wastes of formless void and primordial chaos before God spoke and created a good world, so Mark … Read More

Advent 1: Advent Hope

Jen deCombeLiturgical Year, Prayer, Spiritual Practices

First Sunday of Advent: We blow out the candle of despair and in its place we light the candle of hope. Lectionary Readings: Isaiah 64:1-9, Mark 13:24-37 This year’s first Gospel reading of the Advent season comes as a shock to many of us. Unlike the images of Christmas that surround us, there are no joyful angels shining in the sky or three wise men bearing gifts. The only stars in this reading are the … Read More

Hanging of the Greens

Pressley CoxLiturgical Year

Growing up, I had never heard of a “Hanging of the Greens” service.  Preparing the sanctuary for Christmas was done by a group of women one Saturday morning.  The bulletin announcement the next day would be a thank you to those who “decorated” the church.  It wasn’t until seminary, that I began to understand the full theological meaning of preparing the sanctuary for the liturgical season of Advent and Christmas.  A Hanging of the Greens … Read More

An Imperfect Lineage: A Youth Reflection on the Genealogy of Jesus

Kaylee OsteenLiturgical Year

“An account of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham.”  Matthew 1:1 (NRSV) Over the past few years, the summer Montreat Youth Conferences have inspired me in a multitude of ways.  Escaping to the mountains of North Carolina provides an environment to help young people grow closer to God, to their church family, to meet new friends, and to reconnect with old friends.  Every year, as I hear … Read More