‘Peace on Earth’ Advent Spiral: Xmas Eve, Bendigo

This event got shaped up from these intial ideas which came from Greg Hewson in Cudgee…

An Advent Spiral is an old English tradition of preparing for Christmas, involving lighting a candle and praying for a person or situation in need of light and hope. You build the spiral (outside), using rocks and branches, spiralling in to the centre. Then hold a service and at the end of the service, when dark enough, give everyone a candle, and invite one person at a time to come forward, make their way into the centre, light their candle from the Christ Candle, and on their way back, to place their candle somewhere on the edge of the spiral path, all the time inviting them to think of a person or situation in need of light.

see: http://herbnites.tripod.com/waldorfinspiredschool/id14.html or this text taken from one website

“An adult enters the spiral first, walks to the centre and sits down. Then, one by one the children walk the spiral for themselves. It is their walk, their spiral. But we invite them, if they wish, to think as they enter the spiral of a happy memory that they can carry with them. In the centre, their tea light is lit from the large candle and as they walk carefully out of the spiral, carrying their own light with them, we invite them to think of a hope, a Christmas wish.

When the adult in the centre lights the candle for each child they can, if they are comfortable, use the ancient prayer that Christians have used for centuries at this time of year ‘The light of Christ in glory shining scatter the darkness from before your path’.

When the children reach the outside of the spiral, they carry their candle back to their place and sit down, placing it in front of them. As more children and adults walk the spiral the outer circle of light grows until it is completed by the adult in the spiral walking out and taking their own place in the outer circle. Then we sit and enjoy the lights!”


We did a 7pm version for families along the lines above with 6 carols and a couple of readings.

For the 11pm service we deployed the military!

Seeking to work with the PEACE ON EARTH theme we painted up some cardboard cut out Marines to ‘guard’ the spiral and placed barbed wire in the sand to mark the path.  (This was done with a reflection on the current divisions in Bethlehem created by the Wall. See some of the images and statistics at OpenBethlehem.org).  The installation sought to remind us of the particular war zone in which the nativity took place and connect this with situations of conflict today.  To consider the challenge to dominant culture conceptions of peace offerred by the Christ story then and now.

We balanced the spiral on the ground, (made of 130 kilos of sand), with a circle in the sky (made from an ex-army surplus parachute) in order to represent the heavens and earth and the connection of both at Xmas made through the mystery of the incarnation.   Onto the parachute we projected Christops animation of an  Angel with ‘Be not Afraid’ text; a heavenly host of the same image multiplied and an animation of stars and the ‘blue globe’ image of earth with ‘Peace on Earth’ appearing in different languages.

Toy soldiers could be placed in the sand on the journey into the spiral as a reminder of situations where peace was absent in our world/neighbourhoods/personal lives. The candle was left in the sand on the way out as a symbol of Christmas hope.

During the reflective time a toy soldier was placed in the sand for each of the 11 Australians who have died in the Afghanistan conflict as there names were read out alternating with the names of 11 Afghani civilians killed in the conflict.  (via www.thetwintragedy.org )

11pm Order of Service

Song: O Holy Night (Acoustic Guitar)

Lighting of Christ Candle

Acknowledgement of Country and Traditional Owners

Reading of Prophets

Eucharist to ‘Something Beautiful’ by Sinead O’Connor

Reading of Mary’s Song

Prayer: Hail Mary Remixed

Reading: Matthew; Wise Men, Herod and The Slaughter of the Innocents Reading:

Introduction of pinning Paper Stars upon Parachute. (Prayers for people and or places that act as a ‘Guiding Star’ for you in bringing, incarnating Christ’s Peace on Earth, reflections on Barak Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize speech referencing MLK and Ghandi, Kevin Rudd and Bonhoeffer etc.)

Luke 2 Angels and Shepherds (projections on parachute unveiled)

Introduction of Advent Spiral, Placing of Toy Soldiers and Candles lit from Christ Candle in centre.)

Response Time for Walking Advent Spiral, Pinning Stars on Parachute etc.

Closing Prayer: Come and Be Born in Us

Final Song: Silent NIght to Acoustic Guitar