Responsive Readings for Advent, Year B
Including Christmas Eve
Based on the Lectionary Readings of the Revised Common Lectionary
Provided courtesy of Oklahoma City First Church of the Nazarene
Today is the second Sunday of Advent. Today we light the candle of the Shepherds, who were caught by surprise at the heavenly proclamation that God was in the process of revealing himself to the world in a new way.
Leader: In accordance with your promises, we wait for new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness is at home and justice prevails. We wait for the coming of the day of God, when the lion shall lay down with the lamb, when there will be true peace on earth.
Leader: Let us prepare the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain.
Leader: Comfort, O comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to them, and cry to them that a light will shine in the darkness, that God's presence will be revealed, that newness will come.
Leader: Surely his salvation is at hand for those who fear him, that his presence may dwell in our land. Steadfast love and faithfulness will meet; righteousness and peace will prevail. Faithfulness will spring up from the ground, and righteousness will look down from the sky. The LORD will give what is good, and there will be peace on earth. Righteousness will go before him, and will make a path for his steps.
Today is the third Sunday of Advent. Today we light the candle of Bethlehem, as we begin to celebrate the coming of the one long promised, the true light that enlightens everyone, who will cause righteousness and praise to spring up before all the nations.
Leader: Hear, O people of God. The time draws near when God will make himself known in new ways among his people. Rejoice! The spirit of the Lord God is upon me to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners; to comfort all who mourn, to give them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit.
Leader: A voice cries out in the wilderness, "Prepare the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. Then the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all people shall see it together, for the mouth of the LORD has spoken."
Leader: The great things that God is doing may seem small at first. Yet, Bethlehem, a small village in a remote corner of a large empire, becomes the place where God reveals the Hope of the world! Do not despise the day of small things or think that God cannot work among humble and lowly people. To a people beaten down and discouraged, God proclaims, "They will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, to display his glory."
Today is the fourth Sunday of Advent. Today we light the candle of the Angels, messengers of God who announced to a young girl that she would bear a son who would be called the Son of the Most High and be the presence of God in the world; messengers who proclaimed from the heavens the birth of this child.
Leader: Our wait is almost over! The newness that God has promised is becoming a reality! We had expected God to establish an earthly kingdom, to rid us of evil, to vindicate our righteousness before the entire world. Now one is about to be born who will be called the Son of the Most High, a child of God, God's very presence with us.
Leader: Yet the reality of God's new work goes beyond what we have imagined. Our expectations have been limited to an earthly King and a physical Kingdom, a King who will reward our righteousness. Yet this child will be a different kind of King and establish a different Kingdom that will be eternal, a King who calls us to move beyond the boundaries of our own limited view and be a light to the nations.
Leader: The child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. This child will be great and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.
Leader: Now to God who is able to strengthen all of you according to the proclamation of Jesus who is the Christ, according to the revelation that is made known to all peoples, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever!
Today is Christmas Eve [Christmas Day]. This evening [Today] we light the Christ candle to celebrate the light of Christ coming into a darkened world, our hope realized in the birth of this child.
Leader: We have been waiting for the revelation of God, the coming of a new King who will bring peace, righteousness, and deliverance. The time has come!
Leader: Hear the Good News of great joy for all people. A child has been born this day in the city of David, in Bethlehem. He is the Messiah, the Lord. He is called the son of God, Immanuel, God with us. We who have walked in darkness have seen a great light, the light of God's presence in the world, the fulfillment of His promise to be with us always.
Leader: This child will establish a new Kingdom, not on the basis of power and violence, but a Kingdom of justice and righteousness. He shall be known as the Prince of Peace.
Leader: This child is born not in a palace or in the halls of power but in a stable. He is attended not by princes and priests but by lowly shepherds. He is named Jesus, "God saves," because through him will all nations of the earth find deliverance.
Leader: Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; let the sea give forth praise, and all that fills it; let the field exult, and everything in it. Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy before the LORD; for he has come.
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