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Lit Advent Candles

Advent candles represent the gifts that Jesus brings. For every candle we light this year, let's add a missional practice to share that gift with our neighbors.

Very soon we will set up Advent wreaths on our dining room tables and in front of our worship spaces. On the wreath, four candles represent four gifts that Jesus brings to the church through his incarnation. He came down that we might have love, joy, peace, hope. Hallelujah, forevermore!

These gifts are not just for the church. The church, as God’s chosen people, are sent out with a purpose: to share these gifts with the world. We are blessed so that we can share these blessings with others. So this year, in addition to lighting a candle and reciting a liturgy, I encourage you to add a missional practice to your Advent week that corresponds to the gift Jesus brings. These ideas could be done individually in your own neighborhood or as a congregation in the neighborhood around your church building.

Light one candle for love…

  • Who in your neighborhood especially needs to know they are loved? During this week of Advent, bring them a poinsettia along with a note that says you’re glad to have them as a neighbor.
  • Many missionaries spend the holidays far away from friends and family. Write an email to a missionary your congregation supports to let them know you’re thinking about them.

Light one candle for joy…

  • Bring joy into your neighborhood with a gathering. You may want to try a driveway gathering with a firepit and Christmas cookies with Christmas music playing in the background.
  • Go to a third space in your neighborhood (a third space is a public space like a park, sidewalk, bus stop, coffee shop, etc.) and hand out wrapped candy canes just to see the smile on people’s faces.

Light one candle for peace…

  • What in your neighborhood needs to be restored? Maybe a neighbor never finished their fall cleanup and could use a hand. Or maybe the neighborhood park needs a cleanup day. Lend a helping hand to someone in your neighborhood this week.
  • What in your city needs to be restored? Write a letter to your elected leaders to support and encourage them in the positive work you see them doing to care for neighbors who are poor and excluded.

Light one candle for hope….

  • Walk through your neighborhood, and pray that the households will know the hope that Jesus brings—hope that overcomes fears, anxieties, scarcity, and worry.
  • Pray for the missionaries your congregation supports. Oftentimes missionaries deal with discouragement. Pray that God will renew their hope during this week.

As always, I’d love to hear about any of these missional practices you try! Send your stories and pictures to

Amy Schenkel is Resonate’s Regional Mission Leader for the Great Lakes Region