(1-6 January)

We recommend that you read the Scripture passage and short reflection in our Advent Readings on the Sunday that begins each week. That way, you can reflect on it throughout the week. Below are some additional resources for consideration, wondering, and worship during this season. Enjoy!

At the end of Christmas we move through the twelve days of Christmas that take us to Epiphany—traditionally observed on 6 January. Common themes for Epiphany include: “arise, shine for your light has come”, the incarnation, the glory of the Lord in our midst.   

Isaiah 60:1-6  Ihāia 60:1-6 

Psalm 72  Waiata 72 

Ephesians 3:1-12  Epeha 3:1-12 

Matthew 2:1-12  Matiu 2:1-12

Note: For those who follow the Lectionary Calendar and Church Year, Advent 2021 marks the beginning of cycle or “Year C”. The weekly Scripture passages in our readings are from each Sunday of Advent. If you would like additional Bible readings, you can follow along with the daily recommended readings for this season.

From: Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia

You can download the 2021 (for Advent and Christmas) and 2022 (up to Epiphany) versions of the lectionary.

Another resource is the Vanderbilt Divinity Library

Some musical compositions for this week.

Arise, Shine for Your Light has Come (Cardiphonia)

Psalm 72 – O God to Thine Anointed King (Gregory Wilbur) 

Love Divine, All Love’s Excelling (Virtual Choir – Holy Innocents Church)

We Three Kings (Lecrae and Crossroads Music)

I Can Only Imagine (Mercy Me)

For Epiphany, the image of the three Magi from the east looking to find baby Jesus to worship him and bring gifts comes to mind. Instead of depicting them crossing the desert, I created a landscape that can be interpreted as winter - inspired by German winter that I am experiencing right now. This highlights that all around the world, no matter the season, many people celebrate this specific day.

This piece focuses on the Lord’s light and glory covering the earth and defeating the darkness. I find it helpful to have a visualisation in front of me to realise how big of a deal something is. "Your light has come (…) and His glory appears over you!" Praise the Lord. 

Franziska Schreiner, (Former) Laidlaw Graphic Designer

“Arise, shine, for your light has come,
   and the glory of the LORD rises upon you.
See, darkness covers the earth
   and thick darkness is over the peoples,
but the LORD rises upon you
   and his glory appears over you.
Nations will come to your light,
   and kings to the brightness of your dawn.

“Lift up your eyes and look about you:
   All assemble and come to you;
your sons come from afar,
   and your daughters are carried on the hip.
Then you will look and be radiant,
   your heart will throb and swell with joy…” 

(Isaiah 60:1-5) 

I created this painting to look like how worshipping God feels in the body. The figure is oriented towards the heavens in a moment of devoted abandon which is felt in every curve. In this final week of the Advent and Christmas season, we welcome the glory of God pouring out on the cosmos and welling up in every atom of our bodies, banishing the darkness and emptiness. Brothers and sisters, in the wake of God’s glory, let your face flush with radiance and your heart throb with joy.

Jess Hall, Library and Administration Assistant

Epiphany is a time of wonder!

The Jews had waited hundreds of years for the coming of God’s great deliverer, the Messiah. 400 years of watching, waiting, expecting. 

The stars were silent. The Spirit was quiet. The prophets were still. 

The Jerusalem news agencies were reporting the normal deaths by donkeys and the rate of wheat inflation. Rumours out of Rome were threatening increased taxation. The weather seemed to be getting warmer every year, and the fish in the nets were fewer. Life rumbled on. The rich got richer, and the poor got poorer. 

The stars were silent. The Spirit was quiet. The prophets were still.

Or so it seemed. But God did what God always does; he turned up in the most unexpected places and in the most unexpected ways.


Once silent stars awoke and spoke in tongues of light (Isaiah 601-6). An eastern star led the rest in speaking for God. A star. In the east. Spoke for God. “Follow me,” it said, by beams of light. And follow they did (Matt 2:2). In this humble and lowly place lies the one you have been looking for all your life but did not know it. Here in a manger is the King of the Jews (Matt 2:9)! “When they saw the star, they were overjoyed” (Matt 2:10).

Epiphany! The stars still speak.

Once thought absent, the Spirit returns. Present at the beginning to create, present at the start leading Israel to the Promised Land, present in the exile and present in the kingdom, present in the palace and present in the field, the Spirit was again present (Eph 3:5). Present to the virgin Mary in gifting a baby—Jesus (Matt 1:18). Present to Elizabeth’s unborn son at the news of the Saviour (Luke 1:41). Present in Bethlehem in Judea, in the time of King Herod.  

Epiphany! The Spirit is still Present.

Inactive prophets are now commissioned to service. Simeon’s tired eyes now see clearly, “for my eyes have seen your salvation” (Luke 3:30). Anna’s old body was injected with new life as she saw Jesus and proclaimed the redemption of Jerusalem (Luke 2:38). John leapt for joy in his mother’s womb (Luke 1:15, 41). Through older women and men, and even through unborn infants, God speaks. 

Epiphany! The prophets still live. 

“May his name endure forever;     may it continue as long as the sun.

Then all nations will be blessed through him,      and they will call him blessed.

Praise be to the Lord God, the God of Israel,     who alone does marvellous deeds. Praise be to his glorious name forever;     may the whole earth be filled with his glory. Amen and Amen.” (Psalm 72:17-19)

Epiphany! The Saviour has come.

Christ appeared to the Magi, Mary, Elizabeth, Simeon, and Anna. Epiphany is the realisation that Christ still appears today. Christ is saying to you and I what he said to Zaccheus all those years ago, “I must come to your house” (Luke 19:5-6). Zaccheus, of course, received the Lord with gladness, and salvation came to his house. We can rejoice that salvation comes to all those who welcome Christ. 

Epiphany is a time of wonder!

Myk Habets, Head of School of Theology 

We have prepared an activity based on the theme of each week of Advent. You can download this week's right here.

These may need amending to suit the age and stage of those in your whānau but we hope they will offer you an opportunity to engage in this season simply and meaningfully with your tamariki. You might come up with new variations!

We would love to see pictures of you and your whānau engaging with Advent – please share them on Facebook or Instagram and tag us so we can see!

An advent karakia:

As we get ready for Christmas we remember, loving God, that in Jesus you came to live with us and rescue us. Jesus, we think of you as a little vulnerable baby, and we remember you know what it is like to be a child like us.

Jesus, we want to see you—that we might be radiant and our hearts might thrill and rejoice as your glory appears over us. 

Jesus, we look forward to the day when you will judge the world with your righteous justice. We look forward to a time when you deliver the needy, help the helpless, pity and strengthen the weak, crush the oppressor and redeem the lives of the oppressed! Blessed be your holy name. May your glory fill the whole earth!

We thank you, Father, for revealing the marvellous mystery of Christ. Enliven us as your church that we may participate in your plan and joyfully share the news of the boundless riches in Christ for all people. 

Jesus, we want to search for you as diligently and persistently as the wise men did. Help us to notice your mysterious and marvellous, your ordinary and extra-ordinary leading, that we may be surprised and filled with joy when we finally notice your presence.