Advent Wreath: Lighting of Candles

Discussion in 'Church Order' started by blhowes, Dec 24, 2008.

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  1. blhowes

    blhowes Puritan Board Professor

    At the church I've been attending, they've included as part of their service the lighting of the advent wreath. Each week, a different family comes up and lights the candle, reads a scripture passage, and explains the significance of the candle being lit. This was part of my upbringing in the Methodist church, so its been interesting to listen and find out what the lighting of the various candles means (I didn't pay much attention growing up).

    Do your churches have the lighting of the advent wreath during the Christmas season?
  2. APuritansMind

    APuritansMind Puritan Board Junior

    We stick to our normal service format, so we don't have an advent wreath.
  3. Croghanite

    Croghanite Puritan Board Sophomore

  4. Glenn Ferrell

    Glenn Ferrell Puritan Board Junior

    Is this a Presbyterian church?

    Such is a man-made innovation with no warrant in God’s word.

    The church doing this is most likely ignorant of the RPW; but it is too bad they remain so.
  5. Guido's Brother

    Guido's Brother Puritan Board Junior

    Thankfully, no.
  6. JohnGill

    JohnGill Puritan Board Senior

    no, and please don't give them the idea.
  7. Davidius

    Davidius Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Yes, but the lighting of the candles does not take place during worship with any special ceremony. Someone lights them before the service.
  8. JBaldwin

    JBaldwin Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    When our church started last year, the topic of advent candles, wreaths and the like came up, and it was decided that we would celebrate Christmas without any of the non-biblical ceremony. We have a lovely lessons and carols worship service followed by the Lord's Table on Christmas Eve. By the way, we don't have a Christmas tree in our church either.

    Though our pastor has been taking us through Genesis, he took a short detour on Sunday to talk about the names of Christ (Jesus and Emmanuel) named in Matthew's Gospel and to talk about Messianic prophecies in Genesis.
  9. Glenn Ferrell

    Glenn Ferrell Puritan Board Junior

  10. blhowes

    blhowes Puritan Board Professor

    No, the church is an Evangelical Free Church.
  11. Davidius

    Davidius Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Because there isn't a place in the BCP's liturgies of the Word and Eucharist for the lighting of the candles, I suppose.
  12. Kevin

    Kevin Puritan Board Doctor

    It is fairly common in the ARP & in Canadian PCA churches.
  13. Glenn Ferrell

    Glenn Ferrell Puritan Board Junior

    So, on the Lord’s Day, at the place of and immediately before public worship, the church acknowledges an unwarranted “holy” day, by adding a man-made people-pleasing extra-biblical ceremony. Is this meant as worship of God?

    Why is the attention of God;’s people diverted from the pure gospel of salvation and the needs of their souls?
  14. Davidius

    Davidius Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    I already told you that there is no ceremony, so no, it is not "meant as worship of God." Someone lights the candles while the people are assembling, and the wreath sits up at the front, to the side of everything else.

    Your second "question" simply asserts a conclusion for which you have no real evidence. Its implication is so outrageous that I'm surprised you would say as much, being as ignorant of the reality of the circumstances as you are. I can tell you that I come into contact with the pure gospel of salvation there, and that the needs of my soul are met through word and sacrament. As concerned as you claim to be about the right worship of God, you should be mindful of the 9th commandment in dealing with your brothers. You cannot love Him whom you have not seen, if you do not love him whom you see.
  15. blhowes

    blhowes Puritan Board Professor

    I was wondering, are the things said during the lighting of the candles pretty much standardized, or would it vary from church to church. As I mentioned, growing up in a Methodist church that practiced it, it was interesting to listen to why they do what they do. This last week, though, the "ceremony" ended with one of my eyebrows raised and a questioning look (no doubt) on my face. The father of the family that lit the candles closed in prayer, I'm pretty sure he read the prayer from the paper he was holding. The content of the prayer, if I'm not mistaken, was in affect asking God to send the promised Messiah...for the first advent?? Maybe I misunderstood, but it sounded like he was praying for something that had already happened. In my mind, it was like praying and asking God to create the world.

    If I heard/understood the prayer correctly, is this an anomaly, or is it common?
  16. Whitefield

    Whitefield Puritan Board Junior

    Praying for the first advent would be an anomaly. I bet he made a mistake and meant the second advent. Using Advent to draw attention to the return of Christ (the second advent) is pretty common.
  17. Davidius

    Davidius Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Yes, Advent remembers Israel's waiting for the Messiah's first advent and uses this to turn our minds to His second advent.
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2008
  18. TsonMariytho

    TsonMariytho Puritan Board Freshman

    The hymn O Come, O Come, Emmanuel is a little bit like that. But I would differentiate between that hymn versus the speaker explicitly praying for Christ to come in the Incarnation. That would be a little weird -- as if the prayer was not a real prayer, but a performance of something poetic for the entertainment (?) of listeners. Don't know the situation, so just speculating...
  19. Backwoods Presbyterian

    Backwoods Presbyterian Puritanboard Amanuensis


    Done in my church...
  20. Glenn Ferrell

    Glenn Ferrell Puritan Board Junior

    A Scottish youth moved to London and began to attend a high church Anglo-catholic service.

    His dear Scottish Free Church mother came to visit and he was apprehensive about what she would think.

    There was a procession, the choir sang, candles were lit, incense was burned, and the priest entered with all of his colorful vestments.

    After service, he hesitant son asked, “Mum, what did you think?”

    “Oh son, it was beautiful; it was wonderful. But, should they do such things on the Lord’s Day?”

    On the contrary, you falsely accuse me. I did not say or imply the gospel is not preached or heard here. I have no way of knowing. I asked, “Why is the attention of God’s people diverted from the pure gospel of salvation and the needs of their souls?”

    Do you think the addition of a man invented, unwarranted, extra-biblical ritual before the service, to mark a man made season and day, is God honoring, or causes people to understand the gospel better or care more for their souls? If not, it diverts attention from what is all important, the once and for all sufficient and completed atoning work of Jesus Christ to which we can add nothing. So why add a man made season, day and ritual to Lord’s Day pre-worship activity?

    Thou answeredst them, O LORD our God: thou wast a God that forgavest them, though thou tookest vengeance of their inventions. [Psalm 99:8]​
  21. blhowes

    blhowes Puritan Board Professor

    I figured it was probably a mistake (or that I misheard). I'm sure the intent, as Davidius mentioned, was to use the 1st advent to focus our attention on the 2nd. There was mention of that later in the service, I just didn't catch it in the prayer.
  22. Galatians220

    Galatians220 Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Only the Roman Catholic churches of which I was a member for over 30 years before leaving for Reformed Protestant churches lit advent wreaths.

    I would, however, light an advent wreath before a church service: in the parking lot, having first soaked it with about a half-can of lighter fluid...

    :lol: :lol: :lol:

    Just kidding... About 95% kidding, anyway... Don't mean to offend anyone...

    Happy holidays!

  23. raekwon

    raekwon Puritan Board Junior

    We did it, accompanied by the reading of Scripture.
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