Church Family Christmas Candle: An Advent Worship Idea

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Many churches do something along the lines of an Advent wreath with prescribed readings. Here’s a great way to personalize it while engaging the entire congregation in a creative way. This can be used by church plants because there is not a significant budget or it can be modified to be minimally costly.

  1. Ask each family to bring a Christmas candle from their home.
  • Candle can be any size, shape, color or condition
  • Candles can have been used—Christmas past candles
  • Candles should be gathered prior to Advent

The Sunday before Advent, provide this explanation (or similar):

“You have all brought a candle from your home, used by your family, with special memories unique to you. Next Sunday we are going to take all the individual candles and make one large ‘Church Family Christmas Candle.’   This is a symbolic way of reminding us that all our families make up one holy family here at the church.

“Look at all these candles, pray for all the families that brought them that their Christmas this year will be a time of special joy and peace. Look at all these candles…all the colors, sizes, shapes, conditions. That’s the kind of church we are (or want to be), where everyone, regardless of their situation, is valued and loved here.

“Now, I don’t know what this big “Church Family Candle” is going to look like; but I can’t wait to see it!   And friends, I don’t know what the future of our church is going to look like…but I can’t wait to see it and to experience it with you, as we are all part of one church family.”

  1. Recruit somebody (or a small team of 2-4) to gather all the candles from the families presented by your individual members and to melt them down to make a “Church Family Christmas Candle.”
  • Consider asking someone who is not already deeply involved with the church;
  • Let them experience the joy of this 1-time task; you may be planting the seed that will grow into a brand new dependable volunteer!
  • If you don’t have anybody with knowledge (like a school art teacher), check various Arts/Crafts stores to help with the process (AND you begin to make it known to the local creative people that your church is doing something creative)
  • At Trietsch, (the church I served as a 2nd pastor for 18 years), we used a trash can as the mold (we started with a small plastic one; as the church grew we used larger trash cans). We liked the metaphor of something beautiful coming from a trash can. Some years we used other molds. One year the entire ancient city Bethlehem!
  • Bear in mind that the wick is the tricky part, depending upon candle size
  1. Each Sunday, as the Advent Candle is lit, also light the “Family Candle”
  • Explain it each week. You can use this to constantly cast vision as December crowds grow and include guests.
  • When Advent Christ Candle is lit, highlight about the Family Candle: “While this is our community candle, let’s remember: it’s all about HIM, not us.”

This idea can be used and modified for a variety of church plants and expressions this Advent and Christmas.

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Dr. Jim Ozier is the Director of New Church Development and Congregational Transformation for the North Texas Conference. In addition he is a workshop leader, coach, and consultant working with hundreds of pastors and churches in over 20 annual conferences throughout the country. Jim began his ministry working for noted missionary E. Stanley Jones, and he served his first church while just a high-school student in Illinois. He received his Master’s and Doctoral degrees from Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

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