Make your own Advent Candles

This super easy idea works for all ages, and was loved by our community when we made them on Advent Sunday. The idea was not mine (thank you to the person who suggested it) and I combined it with another idea that I got from a Facebook group (more on that later), but the idea can be adapted to fit with whatever your plans are for Advent.

It combines the talk and the intercessions.

You will need:
  • A white or cream dinner candle for each person
  • Lots of coloured sharpies (presumable other permanent marker pens would work too, but I’m a big fan of sharpies)
Before the service:

Choose your themes. The candle will be divided into four horizontal sections, each of which will have a different theme for people to think and pray about during that week of advent. I decided to use the themes that were the same as another resource I was using, the brilliant ‘Advent in a Bag for Children’ which I had found in the Facebook group ‘Church, Christmas and Covid‘, which has all sorts of wonderful resources that people have generously shared.

These themes were:
  • Week 1: A Star (Waiting for Jesus who brings us brings light)
  • Week 2: A Sheep (Waiting for Jesus who cares for people like a shepherd cares for sheep)
  • Week 3: A Dove (Waiting for Jesus who is the Prince of Peace)
  • Week 4: An Angel (Waiting for Jesus who is Good News)

You could use any themes, as long as you have a simple image to go with each one that people can draw on a candle!

During the service:

Give each person a candle, and access to a range of coloured sharpies for them to choose from. (When we did it, several people chose to use just one colour, so you could just give everyone a single sharpie to use instead, especially if there are lots of people and moving around isn’t possible. )

Ask everyone to draw three rings round their candle (one round the middle, then round the middle of each of those two halves) to divide their candle into 4 horizontal sections. While they did that, I chatted a bit about advent as a whole, what it was about and the overall theme of waiting and preparing.

Introduce section 1, which is the top section of the candle. I asked them to draw a star and write the number 1, and while they did that I chatted about Jesus being the light of the world and what that means.

Once people seem to have finished drawing, introduce a moment of quiet before saying a prayer related to the theme. I asked people to offer things for prayer relevant to each theme before we prayed.

Continue with sections 2, 3 and 4, until people have completed their candles. The ‘script’ I used is below to give you an idea, but it can of course be adapted to whatever themes you are using.

My Script

Introduction to Advent – waiting and preparing

Going to make Advent candles…

Ask people to divide their candle into 4 sections, by drawing 3 rings around it.

What is advent all about?

Waiting and preparing to celebrate Jesus coming as a baby

Waiting and preparing for Jesus to come again. To bring the wonderful kingdom of heaven that we’ve been thinking about the last few weeks. A place of unity, and love and peace.

During advent we wait and pray for that kingdom to come.

Week 1: Star – Waiting for Jesus, who brings us light

Ask people to draw a star and write the number 1 in the top section of their candle.

In advent we watch and wait for Jesus, who brings us light:

  • Stops us being afraid
  • Helps us see things more clearly
  • Gives us direction
  • Makes life more beautiful

Jesus does that for us.

Dear Jesus, Light up our lives, May your light bring peace when we are afraid; may your light bring clarity when we are confused or unsure; may your light show us the way to go; may your light bring joy and hope to our lives.

Lord in your mercy Hear our prayer

Week 2: Sheep – Waiting for Jesus, who cares for us, as a shepherd cares for sheep

Ask people to draw a sheep and write the number 2 in the second section of their candle.

Jesus loves and cares for everyone. Is there anyone you know who especially needs that love and care at the moment?

Think of someone you know who needs Jesus’s love and care.

Dear Jesus, Thank you that you love and care for every person. We pray for people who feel lost or alone; we pray for people who are ill; we pray for people who mourn; we pray that the will know your love surrounding them.

Lord in your mercy Hear our prayer

Week 3: Dove – Waiting for Jesus, who brings peace

Ask people to draw a dove and write the number 3 in the third section of their candle.

When Jesus comes to his disciples, he says ‘Peace be with you’. He is known as the Prince of Peace. When he comes, he will bring peace.

Think of somewhere needing peace right now.

Dear Jesus, We think of places in the world where there is conflict; we think of families torn apart by arguments and disagreement; we think of people who are weighed down with anxiety. We pray for your peace to come and be with them.

Lord in your mercy Hear our prayer

Week 4: Angel – Waiting for Jesus, who is Good news

Ask people to draw an angel and write the number 4 in the bottom section of their candle.

The angels came to the shepherds at Christmas telling them they had good news. Their good news was that Jesus was coming.

Think of some good news you have had or heard this week. Something you want to say thank you to Jesus for.

Dear Jesus, Thank you for all the good things you give us. Thank you for the light you bring into our lives. Thank you that you love and care for us. Thank you that you bring us peace. This season of advent inspire us to share your light, your love and your peace with one another and with our broken world.

Lord in your mercy Hear our prayer

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