Mark Earey, writer of the Advent hymn ‘Advent candles tell their story’ (StF 165), has produced a short liturgy to accompany the lighting of the Advent candles.
He has a strong feeling that the words we say when lighting the candles should complement the action and not try to explain what is, he says, a symbolic act. He prefers to avoid the words “This candle reminds us of…” and draws, instead, upon words from scripture to sit alongside this meaningful Advent ceremony.
An alternative set of reponses are those written by Alison Richards. This liturgy was originally written also to accompany Mark Earey’s hymn, but it works equally well with the other two candle-lighting hymns in Singing the Faith: Clare Stainsby’s ‘Light a candle in a darkened place’ (StF 174) and John Bell’s ‘Christmas is coming!’ (StF 166).
A third alternative is Alison Richards’ set of responses built around Bernadette Farrell’s hymn, ‘Longing for light, we wait in darkness’ (‘Christ, be our light!’) (StF 706). This hymn brings peace and justice themes right into the heart of our Advent preparations and offers a sung/spoken accompaniment to our candle lighting that complements the increasingly popular ‘alternative Christmas’ gifts – such as those available through the Methodist relief nad development charity, All We Can.