Advent Festival of Lessons and Music
(from the Book of Occasional Services)
The following bidding and lessons may be used at a festival held in Advent.
A Bidding Prayer Traditional
Beloved in Christ, in this season of Advent, let it be our care and delight to prepare ourselves to hear again the message of the Angels, and in heart and mind to go even unto Bethlehem, to see the Babe lying in a manger.
Let us read and mark in Holy Scripture the tale of the loving purposes of God from the first days of our disobedience unto the glorious Redemption brought us by his holy Child; and let us look forward to the yearly remembrance of his birth with hymns and songs of praise.
But first, let us pray for the needs of the whole world; for peace and goodwill over all the earth; for the mission and unity of the Church for which he died, and especially in this country and within this city.
And because this of all things would rejoice his heart, let us at this time remember in his name the poor and the helpless; the hungry and the oppressed; the sick and those who mourn; the lonely and the unloved; the aged and the little children; and all those who know not the Lord Jesus, or who love him not, or who by sin have grieved his heart of love.
Lastly, let us remember before God his pure and lowly Mother, and all those who rejoice with us, but upon another shore and in a greater light, that multitude which no one can number, whose hope was in the Word made flesh, and whom, in this Lord Jesus, we for evermore are one.
These prayer and praises let us humbly offer up to the throne of heaven, in the words which Christ himself hath taught us:
The Almighty God bless us with his grace; Christ give us the joys of everlasting life; and unto the fellowship of the citizens above may the King of Angels bring us all. Amen.
A Bidding Prayer Contemporary
Dear People of God: In the season of Advent, it is our responsibility and joy to prepare ourselves to hear once more the message of the Angels, to go even to Bethlehem and see the Son of God lying in a manger.
Let us hear and heed in Holy Scripture the story of the God's loving purpose from the time of our rebellion against Him until the glorious redemption brought to us by his holy Child Jesus; and let us look forward to the yearly remembrance of his birth with hymns and songs of praise.
But first, let us pray for the needs of the whole world; for peace and justice onl the earth; for the unity and mission of the Church for which he died, and especially for his Church in our country and in this city.
And because he particularly loves them, let us remember in his name the poor and helpless; the cold, the hungry and the oppressed; the sick and those who mourn; the lonely and the unloved; the aged and the little children; as well as those who do not know and love the Lord Jesus Christ.
Finally, let us remember before God his pure and lowly Mother, and that whole multitude which no one can number, whose hope was in the Word made flesh, and whom, in Jesus, we are one for evermore.
And now, to sum up all these petitions, let us pray in the words which Christ himself has taught us:
The Almighty God bless us with his grace; Christ give us the joys of everlasting life; and to the fellowship of the citizens above may the King of Angels bring us all. Amen.
Nine lessons are customarily selected (but fewer may be used), interspersed with appropriate Advent hymns, canticles, and anthems. When possible, each Lesson is read by a different lector. The Lesson from the third chapter of Genesis is never omitted.
The Lessons may be read without announcement or conclusion, or in the manner prescribed in the Daily Office. A period of Silence may follow each Lesson.
Genesis 2:4b-9, 15-25 (God creates man and woman to live in obedience to him in the Garden of Eden)
Genesis 3:1-22 or 3:1-15 (Adam & Eve rebel against God and are cast out of the Garden of Eden)
Isaiah 40:1-11 (God comforts his people and calls on them to prepare for redemption)
Jeremiah 31:31-34 (A new covenant is promised which will be written in our hearts)
Isaiah 64:1-9a (God is called upon to act and to come among us)
Isaiah 6:1-11 (God reveals his glory to the prophet and calls him to be his messenger)
Isaiah 35:1-10 (The prophet proclaims that God will come and save us)
Baruch 4:36-5:9 The Scribe Baruch urges the people to look East because salvation is at hand)
Isaiah 7:10-15 (God promises that a child shall be conceived who will be known as "God with us")
Micah 5:2-4 (The one who is to rule Israel will be born in the village of Bethlehem)
Isaiah 11:1-9 (The Spirit of the Lord will rest upon the Holy One)
Zephaniah 3:14-18 (The Lord will be among us; we are summoned to rejoice and sing)
Isaiah 65:17-25 (God promises a new heaven and a new earth)
If desired that the Lessons end with a reading from the Gospel, one of the following may be used:
Luke 1:5-25 (And angel announces to Zechariah that his wife Elizabeth will bear a son)
Luke 1:26-38 or 1:25-56 (The Angel Gabriel announces to the Virgin Mary that she will bear the Son of the Most High)
The service may conclude with an appropriate Collect and the seasonal blessing for Advent.
A sermon is not a traditional part of this service.