There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on the earth distress among nations confused by the roaring of the sea and the waves. People will faint from fear and foreboding of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in a cloud’ with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to take place, stand up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”
Then he told them a parable: “Look at the fig tree and all the trees; as soon as they sprout leaves you can see for yourselves and know that summer is already near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near. Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
“Be on guard so that your hearts are not weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life, and that day catch you unexpectedly, like a trap. For it will come upon all who live on the face of the whole earth. Be alert at all times, praying that you may have the strength to escape all these things that will take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”
Leader: We begin this day to await the advent of Christ and join with hopeful communities all over the world in lighting the Advent Candles.
People: We gather in hopeful expectation that God will show up in our lives
Leader: People around the world stand today in anticipation of a miracle that has been repeated for hundreds of years, yet astounds us anew each year.
People: Our hope springs anew out of this ancient vision.
Leader: (Light candle) Today we light the candle of hope because we believe that a special Child is to come, that God is to be among us and that soon we will see a new creation on Earth.
People: We are a people of hope!