Singing the Sacred

Pastoral musicianship and worship in progressive Christianity

‘Light a Candle Bright and Tall’ A Hymn for Advent

Here is a new text I created for use during Advent and Christmas services. I wanted it to reflect the weeks of Advent and the progression toward Christmas.

Update 11.27.2012 –  Writing is a constant process of revision, and with that in mind I have slightly altered the lyrics. I have now used the word “bright” in place of “straight” since “straight” fails to affirm the diversity of God’s creation.

Light A Candle Bright and Tall
DIX (“As with Gladness”)

Light a candle bright and tall
For the Hope within our world.
Hope that heard the ages’ call
As the stars and planets whirled.
Shine within our hearts today
Come, O Hope, to us, we pray.

Light a candle bright and tall
For the Peace we wish to know.
Peace on Earth for great and small
God’s Good News to us bestows.
Shine within our hearts today
Come, O Peace, to us, we pray.

Light a candle bright and tall
For the Joy this season brings.
Joy like fountains brimming full.
Through our world now let it ring!
Shine within our hearts today
Come, O Joy, to us, we pray.

Light a candle bright and tall
For a Love which knows no end.
Love that comes to one and all.
Fear and hatred to upend.
Shine within our hearts today
Come, O Love, to us, we pray.

Light a candle bright and tall
For the Christ we greet today.
Christ has come, our all in all.
With the angels, let us say:
Shine within our hearts today
Come, O Christ, to us, we pray.

Tune: Conrad Kocher, 1838
Text: Copyright © 2012 by David Wood. All rights reserved. Written for the congregation of First United Church, Bloomington, Indiana
Permission is given for duplication and use within worship settings.

It is suggested that this hymn be used during the lighting of Advent candles with the appropriate stanza sung each week during the season. Singing of the entire hymn is appropriate for Christmas Eve/Day services.

***If you decide to use this text, I’d love for you to leave a comment telling where it will be sung!****

NB: I would be remiss if I didn’t thank my wife (an ordained UCC clergy-person) for her help in editing.

Printable PDF: Light A Candle Bright and Tall

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58 thoughts on “‘Light a Candle Bright and Tall’ A Hymn for Advent

  1. Caela introduced me to these new Advent words you have written, and I’m looking forward to using them at St. Luke’s this season! Thanks, David!

  2. Julianne on said:

    I just came across this and will be using these verses at Bellmore Presbyterian in Bellmore, NY. Thank you for the beautiful words!

  3. Rita Wood on said:

    We are using this for the UMW Advent Vespers Service next week. It has been offered to the “powers that be” for our congregational Advent Candle lighting as well.

  4. Rita Wood on said:

    Yes, we will be using “Light a Candle Bright and Tall” during worship this Advent Season!

  5. Will be using this at the United Reformed Church in Taunton, Somerset, United Kingdom, over the four weeks of Advent and on Christmas Day. Many thanks for this beautiful hymn.

  6. Hanny Labun, Director of Spiritual Care/chaplain on said:

    This fits perfectly at the end of our short Advent Litany, we will read responsively for each Advent Sunday. Our residents in Luther Home (personal care home), Winnipeg, Manitoba will be singing your lyrics. Thank you.

  7. Thank you. I will be using this hymn for our Advent Candle lighting this season at St. Thomas UCC, Linglestown (Harrisburg) PA

    Don Wetzel, pastor

  8. Hi, this will be used in one congregation of the Marrranbila cluster in Australia during advent. Thanks so much for this. It fits so well with the Advent liturgy we have chosen.

  9. Rita Wood on said:

    We are using this tonight in the Advent Vesper Service for the United Methodist Women. A well-known soloist will lead the singing.

  10. Virginia Studer on said:

    Faith Presbyterian Church in Sierra Vista, AZ is grateful to use this hymn for each of our Sundays during Advent. Thank you!

  11. Hi thanks for these words put to a tune we know well. A gathering of 14 people will sing them this advent in Worcester, UK.

  12. Ann Menz on said:

    Hi, I am putting together a school Advent program of proclamation and reflection of Scripture and song – based upon the O Antiphons. This is perfect for our daily lighting of the Advent candles and I am thinking about using it to open our Advent program.

    Thank you and God bless you.

    Lufkin, TX

  13. Sandy Marlin on said:

    OK – Great Words but I need sheet music to play with the words,
    Please help me — Pastor Sandy

    • David Wood on said:

      You only need to locate a hymnal and look in the tune index for the tune name DIX. It should be any most hymnals. It is also used as the tune for the Epiphany hymn “As With Gladness, Men of Old.”

  14. Lenore Moules on said:

    I have just discovered your candle-lighting hymn on the web, and am planning to use it during Advent at St John’s Anglican Church, Coffs Harbour, NSW, Australia.
    thank you for such a great resouyrce made so freely available. Blessins to you.

  15. Lynton Wade on said:

    I love what you’ve done and it will bless our Advent worship on the Great Ocean Road in Lorne, Australia – an Anglican-Uniting congregation. Rev’d Lynton Wade

  16. Ann Blair on said:

    Beautiful! We will use them at Red Creek Westbury UMC in 2014.

  17. We love these words here at Hilldale ELCIC!! We chose to use a different tune with a 77-77-77 meter (Go to Dark Gethsemane) to emphasise that parallel between Lent and Advent. Thank you so much for these beautiful words!

    I used my Finale program to combine the Gethsemane tune and your lyrics. I uploaded it to imgur so you could have a copy! The link is here:

    We’ll be using it this Advent/Christmas season at Hilldale in Thunder Bay, ON, Canada!

  18. Pingback: Advent and Christmas 2015: Highlighting the Advent Wreath | on the chancel steps

  19. Thank you David! Edgewood Presbyterian Church (USA), Birmingham, Alabama, will be using your song. I have also included a link to it from my online Advent/Christmas children’s series sermon post. The light of Jesus shines brightly in you.

  20. Rebecca Poos on said:

    Just found this and planning to use for our Elevation Contemporary Worship during Advent, with candle-lighting. THANK you for sharing with the world!

  21. I’m going to use this at New Hope Christian Church, Wisconsin Dells, WI with the Lenten connection tune of Go to Dark Gethsemane.
    Pastor Marci Nichols

  22. Thank you, our church, Cleveland Uniting Church, Queensland, will be using these lyrics on Sunday morning 29 November 2015

  23. ELSPETH STIRLING on said:

    I am leading an Advent Celebration at our church Guild (St. Andrew’s Church, Port Glasgow, Scotland and was thrilled to find these words which will fit in so well with our lighting of the Advent Wreath. Thank you.

  24. We’re going to use this during the lighting of the Advent wreath each week, at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, in Coldwater, Michigan! Thank you! The words are very powerful.

  25. Hoping to use this week at St Kentigern’s in Ballater, Scotland. Than.k you so much for the words

  26. Kalpana on said:

    Just found this lovely hymn so will use it for the rest of the advent season and play catch up tomorrow at Calgary Community Reformed Church. Thanks so much!

  27. Hi David, I edit a resource (Spill the Beans) of worship and age group materials and am putting together the Advent-Christmas issue and would love to include this hymn as one of the suggestions for praise. Will add details as per above for recognition, of course. Our quarterly booklet is produced by a group of volunteers though we do levy a small charge for the final booklet to cover our costs.
    Every blessing,
    Peter Johnston

  28. Rev. Gordon C. Holroyd on said:

    Hi David, I will use this hymn during Advent at St. Michael & All Angels Anglican Church in Thunder Bay, Ontario Canada. With your permission.
    Fr. Gordon. email

  29. Hi David, I will use the hymn during Advent this year, at Andrews Presbyterian Church, Andrews, TX.

    Tracy Spencer-Brown

  30. Hi David, We will be using this at St. John’s Church, Broadbridge Heath, West Sussex, UK this Advent – the theme for this year being Stars and Planets so it fits perfectly. Thank you so much.

  31. Kevin J McLemore on said:

    Wonderful hymn…we’ll be using it at Epiphany United Church of Christ in Chicago. Thanks so much!

  32. Hello David. We will be using your most appropriately worded hymn during our Advent service tomorrow at Botley Baptist Church, Oxford, UK. Thank you and may God bless your gift to His glory!

  33. agkinkead on said:

    Thank you for your work. Using the hymn this season at Pea Ridge United Methodist Church, Huntington, WV.

  34. Rev. David Bucholtz on said:

    We’ll enjoy singing Light A Candle at Bethel United Church of Christ, Manchester, MI during our Advent observance 2017. Thanks!

  35. Hello, we will be using this as our Advent Wreath lighting song over Advent at St James’ Church, West End, Southampton, UK. Thank you

  36. Rev. Stuart Fletcher on said:

    I found your song when I typed in a search. I found it to be delightful and faithful. I serve a tiny congregation, the English speaking side of a Korean Presbyterian Church and we will be singing a verse during Advent. One question, on your verse concerning hope, you were masterful in the phrasing, “Hope that heard the ages call, while the stars and planet whirled,” but it leaves Advent just looking back, what about forward to hope’s return? I am not good at lyrics, but what about something like “Hope that heard the ages call, waits return when its ordained”?

  37. Thanks for these words. Am hoping to use them at Minehead baptist church, UK.

  38. Used in Advent services this year in Greensboro, NC. Thanks!

  39. Gina M Finocchiaro on said:

    Just finding this! Think we will use it at First Congregational Church, UCC, Wolfeboro, NH this year. Thank you!

  40. Linda Fletcher on said:

    We will use it at Walton Memorial United Church in Oakville Ontario Canada for Advent 2018. Thank you for sharing your gifts!

  41. Janet Cringle on said:

    We are planning to use this at St. George’s Anglican , Clarksburg , Ontario during Advent . Thank you for giving us a new version of familiar Advent themes.

  42. Sarah Giles on said:

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful piece! We are going to use them at the Four Town Pastoral Charge (United Church of Canada) in (Saltcoats, Bredenbury and Langenburg) Saskatchewan Canada for Advent 2019.

  43. Vaughn Bryner on said:

    I love these words! Thanks for giving us a new Advent Candle alternative! We will be using it during the Sundays of Advent and Christmas Eve at Amicable Congregational Church, Tiverton, RI.

  44. Thank you for this lovely hymn! We will be using it during Advent Candle Lighting at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Chapel Hill NC this year, 2020. I have transcribed it in Finale, if you’d like a PDF copy for distribution.

  45. And here it is Advent 2021 (the second Advent in Covidtide)! We will gladly use this text for our Advent wreath lightings at the United Methodist Church of Willmar, Minnesota – thank you for generously sharing your gift!

  46. Lynn Silver on said:

    Thank you for your lovely words, and for your willingness to share them with others. I believe they will be warmly welcomed as we make our way back from Covid.

  47. Plymouth UCC in Milwaukee, Wisconsin will be using it for Advent 2021! Thank you!

  48. Denise Gavin on said:

    Planning to sing this on Sunday at St. Cuthbert’s Anglican Church in Eketahuna, New Zealand. Thank you.

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