The Second Sunday of 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: 1) the coming of Jesus into the flesh at Christmas, 2) the coming of our Lord in his Word, and 3) 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

O Lord, How Shall I Meet You
CW #18 vv. 1-3

Second Option: Prepare the Royal Highway
CWS #702 vv. 1-3

If 702 is chosen, be sure to play feel the beat in two. This hymn should move along with a lilt to it.

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 40:1-11
Make straight paths for him

Second Lesson

2 Peter 3:8-14
The day of the Lord will come like a thief

Gospel

Mark 1:1-8
John the Baptist prepares the way for Christ

Psalm

Psalm 85
Hymnal p. 73

Second Option: Psalm 85
The Glory of the Lord
Francis Patrick O’Brien
Click here to view

This psalm setting is a great sing for choir and/or soloist. It is written in a gospel style for piano. Guitar chords are also provided. Another bonus: a second set of words for Psalm 25 is included. Learn one and you are set for every time Psalms 85 or 25 appear in the lectionary.

Verse

Suggestion: 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 two Advent candles remembering Jesus, who came in history. He came into a world of sin and death.
C: We remember Jesus, who came as the promised Messiah. John the Baptist prepared the way of the Lord.
M: We hear his call to repent.
C: We light two Advent candles as a sign of our repentance and desire for renewal.
M: Come, Lord Jesus, be our guest.
C: Through your Word and Spirit may our souls be blessed.

Two advent candles are lit.

Anthem

Prepare the Royal Highway
Ken Kosche (Morning Star)
Click here to view

This anthem is scored for SATB. It can also be effectively sung with just melody or melody with a descant finish on the final stanza. If hymn 702 is chosen instead of hymn 18, congregations might want to purchase a copy of this piece as a source for alternate hymn accompaniments.

Hymn of the Day

On Jordan’s Bank the Baptist’s Cry
CW 16

Be sure to play this hymn in a light and rhythmic manner. Good organ settings on this tune abound. Perhaps have the organ “sing” one of the stanzas for the congregation. Something like this could be placed in the bulletin:

To be sung as follows: v. 1 – All; v. 2 – Men; v. 3 – Women; v. 4 – Organ; v. 5 – All
The congregation is encouraged to take a moment to meditate upon the words of stanza four while the organ plays a “musical commentary” on the words.

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.

33 Sermon Hymn
Comfort, Comfort, All My People
CW #11

An excellent and accessible prelude or offertory on FREU DICH SEHR can be found in Michael Burkhardt’s “5 Advent Hymn Improvisations” at this link. This volume (and volume two) are must buys for the Advent organist.

Closing Hymn

O Lord, How Shall I Meet You
CW #18 vv. 4-5

Second Option:

Prepare the Royal Highway
CWS #702 v. 4

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 »