The First Sunday in Advent

Bulletin Announcement Explaining the Season of Advent

You might wonder what the Season of Advent is all about. Christmas decorations are already out in all the stores. Why not just start singing Christmas carols this weekend at church?The season of Advent is a season of preparation. Advent (Latin for “coming”) helps us prepare for the high festival of Christmas much like Lent helps us prepare for Easter. The roots of Advent go back all the way to the 400’s in France and Italy. The length of Advent was fixed at four weeks by about 600 A.D. There are three major themes to Advent:

  • the coming of Jesus into the flesh at Christmas
  • the coming of our Lord in his Word
  • the coming of our Lord at the end of time.

Advent is a time of repentance, but also a season of joy-filled anticipation. (Christian Worship: Manual, p. 375)
May our Lord richly bless you as you prepare to greet Jesus this Christmas!

Suggestion for Advent Ambiance

Advent, much like Lent, is a season of preparation. Advent prepares us, in most people’s minds, for Christmas. Advent should look and feel somewhat different from Christmas. Consider leaving the Christmas decorations down until later in the Advent season. (Perhaps have the decorations up for the children’s Christmas service the week before Christmas.) A strong suggestion would be to omit the singing of Gloria in Excelsis during the season of Advent. Sing it anew on Christmas when the angels first sang it! The following footnote is supplied for bulletins:
It is an ancient custom in the Christian Church to exclude the song of praise (“Glory Be”) during the season of Advent. Advent is a season of repentance and preparation for the great festival of Christmas. The “Glory Be” will be sung again with great joy on Christmas Morning.

Opening Hymn

The King Shall Come
CW #25 vv. 1-4

Second Option:
The King Will Come at Age’s End
CWS #731 vv. 1-4

Gathering Rite

Gathering Rite on the Word
CWS pp. 11-14

Why a Gathering Rite on the Word? Because in Advent we prepare to meet the Word become flesh!

First Lesson

Isaiah 63:16b, 17, 64:1-8
Rend the heavens and come to us

Second Lesson

1 Corinthians 1:3-9
Strong until the end


Mark 13:32-37
Be on your guard as you wait for Christ to come


Psalm 24
CW p. 73

Second Option: Psalm 24 CWS p. 42


Consider lighting the Advent Wreath as part of the service between the Epistle Lesson and Gospel Lesson. Speak the following responsively in place of the Verse of the Day.

M: We light one Advent candle, remembering Jesus, who is coming again. He will come to gather his people from everywhere, both the living and the dead.
C: We remember Jesus, who will come at the end of time. None of us know what day that will be.
M: We hear his call to watch.
C: We light one Advent candle as a sign of our watchfulness and waiting.
M: Come, Lord Jesus, be our guest.
C: Through your Word and Spirit may our souls be blessed.
One advent candle is lit.


Savior of the Nations, Come
Jeff Bridges /Carol Poston (CPH-98-3100)
This anthem above is currently out of print. Copy permission can be purchased from CPH. Contact the IWO for a copy from which you may make legal copies.

Hymn of the Day

Savior of the Nations, Come
CW 2

Concertato on Hymn of the Day:

Savior of the Nations, Come by David Cherwin
Click here to view

If “Savior of the Nations, Come” is sung as an anthem, sing hymn 22 “O Savior, Rend the Heavens Wide” as the hymn of the day. #22 should be played at a BRISK tempo to highlight the half-quarter note rhythms.

Prayer of the Day Advent from Christian Worship: Altar Book

M: Eternal Father, throughout the centuries you repeated and affirmed your promise to send the offspring of the woman to crush the serpent’s head. Through your prophets of old, you continually directed the eyes of your people to the advent of their Savior.
C: We praise you, O Lord, for keeping your promise and sending your Son to destroy the works of the devil.
M: As we prepare to celebrate the birth of our King, use your mighty Word to shatter our pride and to rouse us from spiritual slumber and apathy.
C: Move us to take to heart the words of John: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.”
M: You sent your Son to redeem us from sin. Let this good news be our joy and strength. Use it to cheer the lonely, encourage the fearful, and give hope to the despairing. In these days before Christmas, spare us from the stress of deadlines and the frenzy of commercialism.
C: Fill our lives with the message of your peace and the music of your grace.
M: Direct our eyes not only to the manger but also to the skies, where we will see your Son coming again, not as a lowly child but as the Lord of lords.
C: Lift up our hearts in joyful anticipation of that day.
Special prayers and intercessions may follow.
M: Hear us, Lord, as we bring you our private petitions.
Silent prayer.
M: Come quickly, Lord Jesus, in your grace, in your power, and in your glory.
C: Come, Lord Jesus! Amen.
This prayer is found on page 123 of Christian Worship.
© 1993 Northwestern Publishing House. Reprinted by permission.

Sermon Hymn

O Lord, How Shall I Meet You , CW 18

In their rush to begin singing Christmas carols, members of our churches have perhaps forgotten that Advent hymnody is one of the great treasures of our worship life. IWO will feature Paul Gerhardt’s classic “O Lord, How Shall I Meet You” several times throughout the Advent season. The original tune (WIE SOLL ICH DICH EMPFANGEN) is preferred to the alternate tune of hymn 19 (VALET WILL ICH DIR GEBEN).

Rev. Aaron Christie

Aaron Christie serves pastor at Trinity Lutheran in Waukesha, WI. He also serves the synod as a member of the WELS Commission on Worship and a frequent presenter and consultant for the WELS School of Worship Enrichment.

Full biography »