(24 - 31 December)
We recommend that you read the Scripture passage and short reflection in our “Advent Readings” on the Sunday of each week – beginning on the first day of Advent: Sunday, 27 November. You can reflect on it all week. Below are some additional resources for consideration, wondering, and worship during this season. Enjoy!
*Note: For those who follow the Lectionary Calendar and Church Year, Advent 2022 marks the beginning of cycle or “Year A”. The weekly Scripture passages in our readings are from each Sunday of Advent – with the exception of Epiphany. If you would like additional Bible readings, you can follow along with the daily recommended readings for this season.
You can download the 2022 (for Advent and Christmas) and 2023 (up to Epiphany) versions of the lectionary.
Another resource is the Vanderbilt Divinity Library
Click on the title or icon to listen to the playlist.
You can find songs about Christ’s joyous arrival in our Christmas & Epiphany playlist, along with songs about the incarnation and what it means that God became human and lived among his people.
The first part of the playlist includes contemporary renditions of Christmas carols and hymns. The second part of the playlist includes sacred and choral music for the Christmas season.
The green Greek is in the style of Papyrus 52 (c.100). Purists will say not a literary hand, far too plain. But John was a plain man, a fisherman with a small pen in a thick hand. The white is rough, as befits a rough life in a rugged country with survival hardly possible. Writing the words took hold of me and grew larger. These are big words about a Big Man, God's own Word made Man. No paint can capture them. They sing alone. The translation is a mixture of KJV and NIV and my own. When my granddaughter asked if it was my own translation I replied:
"So you could tell, huh? Yes. Pretty awful in parts. "They slammed the door in his face" is nothing like the Greek which simply says "did not receive him." But hey the KJV translated "they cast the same in his teeth" where the Greek simply says... something much milder with no "teeth." However, by way of justification Prof Blaiklock pointed out ta idia is idiomatic Greek for "Home." Ta idia = one's own things - the place where one keeps one's belongings. So "He went home, and his own family slammed the door in his face." That is the true meaning of the Greek. Sometimes a paraphrase is more accurate than word for word."
"No room!" The innkeeper slammed the door in Joseph's face. Desperate, Joseph hammered harder:
"I said no room!"
"My wife is about to have a baby!"
"All we have is a cowshed. Try that."
"Where the cows are."
Welcome in your heart too?
Chris Strom, NZBTI Alumni
Ready and Waiting
Sent by Your Father
in a womb
into the mess
A mother, young
not by You…
but by the ignorant
the greatest GIFT
That’s what You had
in Your Father’s plan
in the Word
A creative Word
in the darkness
of a womb
to bring forth LIFE
For God, You are ready
that Your Word will be fulfilled
Help me be ready
© 2021 Barbara J. Harry, BCNZ Alumni
The people walking in darkness have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.
This scripture from Isaiah 9 speaks to those of us who know Christ. We all had an experience of walking in darkness and seeing a great light. We all had some sense of this dawning. To me, this scripture speaks of God approaching me and calling me; of the light that led me to turn around and want to follow God from when I was converted at 13 years of age. But knowing the Light of the World was not a one-off event. Rather it is an ongoing encounter with the light that shines on in the darkness; a light that will not be overcome (John 1:5).
As a counsellor, I have seen times when a person has an epiphany about their life – that they are valuable or loved, or can change their life – and this can turn a light on, so much so that their face lights up. I have also seen people struggle to find even a small light in the midst of a time of intense suffering. Sometimes it feels like we’re sitting together in deep darkness. But then occasionally, miraculously, as they tell their story and are listened to, a small flicker of hope appears.
Christmas week is often a time of last-minute present buying and sorting out who’s bringing what for dinner. But it can also be a time to find that quiet moment and remember again Isaiah 9:2 – that at Christmas we welcome the Light that came into the world while we were in darkness. He is the Word made flesh, the one we have been waiting for in Advent – preparing for, yearning for, hoping for. Christ has come to us. Emmanuel.
Rev. Dr Sarah Penwarden, Counselling Lecturer
Miriam Fisher (Location Lead & Lecturer - Education, Ōtautahi/Christchurch), has 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!