It’s the day before Advent 1, do you know where your candles are?

This year I do, because I was smart enough to buy two boxes last year. But there have been many Advent Eves when I had to find them myself or pray that a Deacon remembered.

On this first Sunday of Advent, we’re contemplating the apocalypse (a non-Zombie version) at the same time the world is screaming “Christmas shopping! Christmas shopping!!!” How do we keep hearts and minds on Jesus when the more interesting story seems to be a lady pepper-spraying other customers at Wal-Mart in order to get her an X-Box?

Meanwhile, at my house, it still feels like Thanksgiving, and if you stick around for lunch time, I can promise turkey sandwiches. Here in the liminal space of the Saturday before Advent, we will get our sermons written. Or maybe Sunday for some of you, but let’s try, anyway. After all the first Sunday in Advent is Hope.

85 thoughts on “One Candle 11th Hour Preacher Party

  1. My apologies for not pre-posting and getting the party started sooner. My college-age son is home and I am distracted from my routine.I'm straying off-lectionary tomorrow to preach about a big chunk of Luke 1, telling the story of Zechariah and Elizabeth and pondering this prologue to our faith epic, sermon to be called "A New Hope." This will be our way in to John the Baptist this year. Next week we'll have the Annunciation, then the Magnificat, and on Advent 4 the Matthew genealogy. And if I can't spell that last word, I had better get the coffee going!

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  2. Good morning – I've got coffee this morning, and it is working for me. My kittens have still not adjusted to the time change, so my days of sleeping a little later on Saturday are over, I think! I am preaching the 1 Corinthians text…but I am wondering if any of you have 'themes' for the Advent season at your churches? Every year, I think I would like to suggest a theme but I never think about it in time.

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  3. Good morning, Chilly Fingers! I try to get the liturgy planned ahead of time, and it's usually some sort of (occasionally tortured) weaving of the four wreath-related words (hope, peace, joy, love) with the lectionary texts. This is the first time I've strayed off that at all, and it's only for the gospel readings. In lots of churches there's enough distraction with special music/children's programs that it's hard to keep a theme going for all four Sundays, although in my current setting, I'm preaching all four. (Plus an ordination, yay!)

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  4. Awesome – blogger ate my post. :(To sum up: Good morning.Preaching Isaiah, Mark and 1 Cor.Title: "OMG!!!"Heading to church with oldest dog (the sermon whisperer) in about an hour.

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  5. Good morning; a good cup of fair trade coffee, a bowl of multigrain hot cereal w a bit of nutmeg and cinnamon and pieces of honeycrisp apples are on the table. Tomorrow, we begin a 4-week effort to learn to worship across cultural & language divides. One of the questions we will b asking ourselves as we consider making this our permanent way of worshipping on Sunday morning is "what will end, what will endure"? The image of the potter and the clay gives me a way to start opening that question up for us to think of Incarnation & God's work in history.

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  6. kzj, I hate when that happens. I have Hoagie by my side–wait, no, he just left the kitchen. I'm on my own.Rosa, nice to see you here! I really ought to eat some breakfast. This morning I've been taken up with the backlog of dirty dishes and stooped to zapping yesterday's coffee. I think I need to make a new pot. I'm also giving some thought to going out for morale-boosting donuts, you know, for the college boy.

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  7. kjz, blogger ate my post too. It's just as well, I'm grumpy and was complaining.I have a full day of chores to do in preparation for my daughter's arrival, an open house at the rectory tomorrow, and the family thanksgiving dinner where we will celebrate my husband's birthday. Baking, cooking, cleaning, laundry…and, that sermon thing. I have pages of notes in preparation for a teaching sermon on the season of Advent and the Gospel of Mark…but I lack a good story to anchor it all in mystery, darkness, and new life…or something like that.

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  8. Rats, sorry Blogger is picking today to be so grumpy!I'm still sitting around with the day old coffee, but I've decided to go out for the donuts. I'll bring back plenty to share!

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  9. Songbird, I am glad I am not the only one that stoops to day old coffee. I am preaching the lectionary texts–mostly Isaiah. Gotta go look for the durn candles, though…and the wreath, which all should be somewhere in the storage closet at church, right? KJZ–is your title really OMG? Terri, if you find that illusive story…..We don't really have an Advent Theme…and Rosa, I will be over for breakfast!!!

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  10. Morning, I'm about to make another pot as 3 of us are home this morning. I'll let y'all know when it's ready. Rosa, your idea sounds awesome. I'd love to hear more as it develops. I'm mostly preaching Mark with some prophet thrown in, I think. I still have a lot to pull together which is why I stopped in here, I really prefer to be editing something I wrote on Friday, but I really took yesterday off and am hoping we all don't suffer for that.Did SB say donuts?

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  11. Good morning! We had our candle drama on Wednesday – we had one pink, 2 purple and 2 1/2 blue candles. Annoying, expecially I asked a month ago if we needed to order candles. Apparently, I didn't ask the right persons. I just can't get used to not having an altar guild and the women's groups are not necessarily the ones who handle various parts of sancturary care! More searching unearthed the correct number of blue candles.I still don't really have a theme – wavering between talking about Mark and Isaiah and hope in hopeless places OR the affront of Jesus' command to keep awake to our over scheduled, sleep deprived culture – or Paul, gifts and how we are enriched and prepared for anything in Jesus. Shesh! Not really feeling it, we've been talking about how to live while waiting for the 2nd coming for 2 weeks now and this just feels like more of the same thing and not a new thought for Advent.I have my very first baptism to get ready for, the Advent wreath lighting chat to prepare, and to top it off, we're changing the setting of our liturgy to one I am less familiar with, so there's a later afternoon meeting with the organist to go over it and a few of the hymns don't know well.But no stress here…. ;)On the personal side of things, I really, really regret not taking any vacation yet or any 'reading time'. I'm really tired and really drained. And kitty is rebelling against the dog – I hope – with some litter box avoidance. She' locked in the bathroom to retrain. I hope it's just that's she's still mad we got a dog (3 months ago), otherwise, I've got a sick kitty on my hands and no one wants that. So a call to the vet is on the schedule for the morning. Revelling in the simple pleasures of steel cut oatmeal with cranberries, coffee, the morning new and my blogpals before the craziness begins!

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  12. day old coffee? no wonder Mark is talking of the apocalypse…2/3 of the way there the sermon is… a wandering rendition of Isaiah and Mark… baileybean dragged doggie poo onto the porch on one of his paws *sigh* so rugs are in the wash. a fresh pot of coffee is brewing. paws have been cleaned, dogs fed, and later today turkey with the family. now where did my extra long conclusion for the sermon go???

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  13. Ok. I have managed to drag my notes into a reasonable format for a sermon to evolve. For a story I am using the image of our community garden, once ripe with a harvest of veggies and herbs, now lying fallow – but that the fallow time is necessary for new life – out of this dark season of night, this womb like season, new life is born. And, I have included a Mary Oliver poem (Sleeping in the Forest)…Now, I am going to let this sermon lie fallow for a bit while I do some other things…

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  14. oooh sounds yummy… if i weren't half way across the country, i'd be right there to beg a donut and cuppa joe. doggies are anxious… think we'll squeeze in walks before i go eat turkey. sermon? yah well it's meandering closer to a conclusion.

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  15. Nancy Fitz, I did! There are molasses glazed and plain glazed.ramona, if you need to rant, this is the place.I'm writing out sections of my sermon and hoping they will weave together eventually. It's been a while since I had a Saturday at home to write a sermon, and I'm feeling very relaxed as well as accomplishing homemaking chores, all of which suggests I'm about to pick up a novel instead. Don't let me!

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  16. Songbird – I am feeling the novel temptation. I just started "Favored Child" by Phillipa Gregory and am finding it particularly engrossing! I hear it calling me "Just one chapter! One chapter won't hurt anything." We'll have to provide novel-resistance support to each other!

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  17. Well unusual as it is for me, I have a written text. At least I think I do. It is certainly preachable. But last night as I was lying awake after the dog decided she needed to go out (for a whole 30 seconds) I remembered that I was tempted to use Roger Whittaker's "New World in the Morning" as part of the sermon. Still mulling whetehr to do a rewrite/edit or not.And while I am at it, any suggestions as to why the dog, who has never done this in her 7 years, has suddenly decided that she needs out at least once in the middle of the night every. single. night. for the last 3 weeks? At least the kids all sleep through the night….

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  18. Gord, any chance she has a UTI?I'm well on my way and taking a break for lunch and to get a Christmas tree with the help of my (barely) willing son. Looking ahead to the next couple of weekends, this is really the best opportunity, although I don't like to go this early.

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  19. I stayed up late finishing the novel I was reading so I wouldn't be tempted today… but doesn't a movie sound like a good idea? sighAND those Molasses glazed donuts sound fantastic!back to the screen and the lack of words staring at me.Oh BTW, I'm thinking of ending with a poem. Is that terrible? Our pastor for 20 years preached 3 points and a poem. I feel guilty even thinking about it.

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  20. Chilly, we do seasonal themes. We gather a group (sometimes it's just the pastors and music staff, this year we included the worship enhancement team (the decorators)) and read all the lectionary texts for the season, talk about them, and try to see where a theme emerges. This year our Advent theme is "heaven revealed" and we're following the Isaiah texts. That meant we had to change up the candle words a bit, so we're going with Light-Peace-Joy-Love this year. And, umm, something for Christmas. lol! In order to do this, though, we have to start really early–we had our Advent theme/planning meeting in the first week of September, and our Lent meeting is three days from now.This week all I have to do is light the Advent candle and write prayers of the people–the children's time will be done by people talking about an upcoming mission project, and the HoS is preaching. It's nice to have a holiday and a weekend sort of "off" after youth sunday, which just kills me every time we do it. I'm surprised I'm not prematurely gray/bald after that. But of course the kids were great–they always pull it off in the end. So…I have mashed potatoes and green bean casserole to share…and if you ask nicely, I might toss you a garlic butter crescent roll too! There may be stuffed mushrooms in my future as well, since I want to test a recipe. Y'all will make the perfect guinea pigs. ;-)Happy almost-advent!

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  21. I have some rather vague thoughts which I'm hoping might make some sense if I start to express them here! Have been thinking about the 'readiness/preparation' element (not very surprising) but looking at how might we (as individuals and as a church) look to being ready/prepared to meet Christ in the coming year. So often the call to be ready for Christ's return seems distant but what readiness do we need to look for for the potential daily encounters and are we prepared enough for God to send us Christ (in encounter) now? Do you think that might go somewhere?

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  22. I wonder about that SB, although usually it is to do the other that she goes out (and it apparently has to be mommy who lets her out–I let her out on the way to bed one night only to have her pester Beloved 45 minutes later). Unfortunately because she has an anxiety disorder, which gets worse with the passing years–she is terrified of the fridge now–that plays out as anti-social behaviour taking her to the vet is a very complicated endeavour, usually involving heavy drugs for anything other than routine vaccinations

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  23. Teri, love the theme. I talked to the worship committee chair this week about meeting early next year. I would love to have some theme ideas to tell her now…as her wheels will start to turn. It is a beautiful day here…hoping to go for a walk with BFF later.

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  24. so, I have not even looked at the sermon-thing since I left it at about 10am…but I have made an apple/pear/cranberry pie; mashed potatoes; sweet potatoes; and sauteed the onions and celery for stuffing (for our family thanksgiving and birthday meal tomorrow) and 6.5 dozen oatmeal/dried cranberry/white chocolate cookies for the open house. The house is cleaned and my daughters bed is made with fresh linens for her arrival tonight….now I think I'll take a shower and get back to that sermon…would love a molasses glazed donut…!

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  25. Chelley, that will most definately preach! I'm tempted to scrap draft 2 and go your route – especially since I started my sermon prep this week with a vague idea of "Be Prepared" and scouting.I do have most of a sermon written. It's about hope and expectation and how the political/social realities of Isaiah's time, Judea pre-birth and our time are not what we hoped for or expected. Neither is God breaking in through Jesus – it turns out to be more than we hoped for. But because I have to reneder a prophetic evaluation of our political/social environemnt, I am not sure I am brave enough to preach this in my very conservative, South Dakota (bright red state!) pulpit. Besides, I'm not entirely sure this is the word from God that my congregation needs or just my own pet views being promoted. Draft one.Draft two is working off the FOTW observation that "Be awake" is just about the last thing our sleep deprived folks want to hear. More comfortable to preach and a call to mindfulness and silence and awarened of God with us in this season of preparation. Perhaps more in line of what my busy farm families need to hear?I'd really like to be able to write just one sermon sometime soon instead of all these partials!There's grilled brie and turkey sourdough sandwiches and Grandma Miller's cranberry jello salad if anyone's ready for lunch!

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  26. Admitedly, I have been lost in the Michigan/Ohio State game, and excited my new home team won…now, where is that sermon?Ramona, it is a careful balance between preaching the prophetic voice (which may or may not be your preferred perspective) and going the safe route. So many good ideas here today. I guess I better look at my sermon and see what it has been up to since I left to perculate. I hope it turned itself into a real sermon, and I don't have to do much… ๐Ÿ™‚

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  27. Advent theme, I often try to have one, it helps me. This year I was thinking of singing the Kingdom, next week is Zechariah's prophecy, then the Magnificant. I am focusing, a bit, on the Kingdom. this week is Hope, what do we hope for, what is our hope founded on. preaching on Isaiah. Thanksgiving is not celebrated here, so no amazing leftovers to share, but I can offer green tea, freshly made. Time to get ready to go to the Church. hope

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  28. Greetings everyone! Glad to see you all here and hear about what's up where you are.I've just returned from a lovely Thanksgiving voyage and now trying to get back in the mindset of Advent. In my previous call we had themes and I would meet with a few other interested pastors for a half-day-long brainstorming/creative idea/imaging session. Not the case here, so I'm doing a loose theme for the candles but nothing really pronounced for preaching. Sticking with the lectionary, except I am moving the Advent 4 readings a week earlier to accomodate the kids' program. No way I am not preaching the Annunciation.Think I'm going with Mark and pondering BBT's sermon on it in Gospel Medicine, along with a few other ideas. Lots to chew on!

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  29. semfem, welcome!pearl, again, my apologies for not getting the post up early enough for you.Chelley, I love your ideas.I went out with my son and got the tree, and it is in the stand. We'll decorate tomorrow. Right now I'm drinking more coffee and getting back to the sermon until dinner time. Anyone want a White Chocolate/cranberry oatmeal cookie?

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  30. heehee, Songbird..seriously, someone needs to tell those sermons to get a move on. Even though mine is up, its, well… it's probably as good as I've got right now…sigh…

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  31. thai carryout instead of fixing supper, for the win! Advent wreath is set up and 1/2 the hangings are changed. (Need 2 people for the altar table or it's crazy hard.)No decorations unless someone brings flowers or poinsettias tomorrow. oh well…back to the sermon which has good pieces, they are just floating all over the place like a mindmap in motion. hmm maybe that's a way to fix this…

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  32. I went over to the church to go over the new liturgy with the organist and got invited to stay for a bit for a baby shower. So a 45 minute excursion ended up taking 2 hours – and my sermon still isn't done. And now I want a nap!Hopefully reading your sermons will re-focus me and I can get finished.

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  33. Teri: Loving the Paul Simon song you mentioned earlier! Hadn't heard it before. Obviously we won't be using it the awesome way you are, but it (or the YouTube video of it) might just make a good sermon introduction…hmm…???My team is (pretty much) safely ahead, so maybe I can turn my attention to sermon writing. Or maybe (probably) to eating dinner.

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  34. Well, the good news is that it is much earlier than it feels.The bad news is I feel like it is late.I'm hoping a shower will rectify the situation and breathe new life into the fragments of ideas and sermon I have gathered about… or are out gallivanting around with SB's sermon.Yes, the sermon is really titled 'OMG!!!' – not sure how I'm going to handle that for the non technology crowd.I'll be back.And I'll be staying for awhile.

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  35. Hey hey revgals. I'm not preaching tomorrow and I've mostly spent the day recovering from hosting family – lots of people in our too-little house, plus creating meals for a crew that included one vegan, one diabetic, one child with severe nut+egg allergies, plus multiple finicky preference. It was a good time, but it left me exhausted. I was so glad for some downtime today, and happy to be surrounded by the festive atmosphere of U-M's win over OSU (Go Blue!).Now I'm turning my thoughts to my prayer for the morning as well as my youth Church School and Youth Group devotional. I'm so grateful to have a fridge full of leftovers so that I don't need to cook tonight! I have a pile of pear-cranberry-apple crisp that I'm happy to share – my husband doesn't eat sweets and my kids would rather just have the ice cream that goes on top of it. It's an Ina Garten recipe, so you know it's good!

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  36. Good evening preachers.I know where my advent candles are –because I stopped and bought them at VT Church Supply on my way home — but I sure don't know where my sermon is. I just got home about an hour ago after a short but sweet visit with my kids in VT; I also left my last nestling there and so am readjusting to a completely empty nest. Bittersweet and I'm feeling a bit sad.The last week has been kind of nuts, and I haven't even thought about the sermon. I hate to be at this point this late in the game. AndI'm hungry — had a wonderful brunch at one of our favorite cafes before I hit the road but haven't eaten since. So I think I must find some food and pray for inspiration. I may be a late night partier tonight.

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  37. Ugh! It's almost 5 pm and my sermon is out there trying to find Songbird's and Terri's sermons. I've been working on this all week and still don't have a word on the page. I don't even have a direction other than "Not Advent". I'm holding "Keep Awake" "Be Alert" and that bloomin' fig tree together in the dark. However the spot I'm in doesn't feel nearly as challenging as those dietary needs Earthchick had to address.

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  38. I think I found mine, but I want to give it a once-over before I introduce him to the public. Taking a break to eat Thanksgiving leftovers with my kids, then to take college son to the bus. Back a little later!

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  39. well, I am back home after escaping the craziness here. two of our kittens that we fostered came back today, and the cat lady across the street was doing adoptions and wanted to adopt them to someone who had given up cats because of an eviction earlier this year. wish we could keep them, but we can't…but oh so sweet. i have a rough draft that went running around the streets with everybody's else's sermons…..it hasn't come back and I can't find it….but did find the advent wreath that, oh, my deacons didn't really KNOW what it was? really? they thought I meant the wreath of greens they hang in the windows. oh dear. another church person said, oh, is it Advent tomorrow? Gotta love New England. Just sayin'

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  40. I know where my Advent candles for home are, and my husband just finished doing altar guild at the church so I am pretty sure those ones are up too. But I should never, ever have downloaded even one, let alone three, versions of Angry Birds for my iPad! I did tear myself away for several hours this morning to go Christmas shopping with my stepmom; I saved a boatload of money and now feel much better about both Christmas and my older son's birthday in two days. 17 years ago on this very day I was making the decision that my labor pains were far enough along that I had better call in the backup preacher for the next day. Kid kept me waiting until Tuesday, as he has continued to do in all the years since!I am doing the family service tomorrow. In one way, my sermon will be an intro to Advent: color, wreath, etc, But I am going to ask the kids to pay close attention and shout out "Get ready!" every time I use the word Advent. I figure that makes the point at a variety of levels and should be engaging for many ages.Ramona, enjoy your first baptism!

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  41. Oh, Karla.My son is on the bus, and my sermon is on my blog: A New Hope. LP and I are watching a favorite episode of The West Wing, "In Excelsis Deo." (We're indoctrinating her.) I'll keep checking in, because we leave no preacher behind!

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