First Week of Advent
(27 November – 3 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!
Click on the scripture reference to read the passage online.
*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
There are two different playlists for the season—for your listening, sharing, and enjoyment as you wish! We recommend the ADVENT playlist for the lead up to Christmas, and then the CHRISTMAS & EPIPHANY playlist from Christmas onwards. Click on the title or icon to listen to the playlist.
This playlist includes songs of hope, anticipation, expectancy, and longing. We have tried to include songs which refer to the story and events announcing and leading up to Christ’s birth.
The first part of the playlist includes contemporary renditions of Advent carols and hymns. The second part of the playlist includes sacred and choral music for the Advent season.
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.
Lord, help us to look forward to the day when you establish peace on earth
When the nations will walk up to your mountain, your maunga, and worship freely in your temple
When all the tribes of Israel will walk up to Jerusalem and praise your name
Please grant us expectant hope for your return and for the peace established after judgment
Lord, as we are waiting may we keep looking up so you can teach us to walk in your ways
May we learn to walk in your paths, to walk in your light
May we wake up and clothe ourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ so we put aside the desires of our flesh
Please grant us patience too, so we keep watch and make ourselves ready for when you return
Tracey Hunt, School of Social Practice Administrator
During the season of Advent we remember and celebrate Christ’s arrival on earth and we anticipate his second coming. The set passages for this week respond to a few questions:
- What are we looking for?
- When will Jesus come?
- How can we prepare?
Isaiah paints a picture of Yahweh’s salvation in the days to come. The dwelling place of the Holy One will be established in a high place and all nations will come and seek the Lord. Yahweh will bring true justice by settling disputes for many peoples and judging between the nations. The word of the Holy One will pour out from his dwelling place. In response, the people will take their instruments of destruction (swords and spears) and turn them into tools for fruitful productivity (plowshares and pruning hooks). Nations will no longer fight or even prepare for battle. Instead of learning war, the peoples will flock to the house of the Holy One so that “he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths”.
When will Jesus come to bring the fullness of his kingdom and reign? When will we get to see this kind of reality – where all nations pour to his presence and long for his instruction? In Matthew 24:36-44 Jesus tells his disciples (and us as we listen in) that the day and hour of his return is unknown. We don’t know! The angels don’t know. Jesus doesn’t even know… only the Father knows. We can be totally sure of this uncertainty. This is just as true today as it was for the early followers of ‘The Way’. Jesus is with us in the unknown. And still he exhorts his disciples to be ready for his unexpected arrival. How can we prepare for his return in the midst of this guaranteed and perpetual uncertainty?
Paul the Apostle and beloved pastor of many of the early churches reminds his dear ones (and us!) that “the day is near”. And we can do something. We can wake up, be alert, be actively watching and waiting. We can “put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armour of light”. We can let Jesus make us more like him. We can be ready to receive Christ by cultivating attitudes of expectancy and expectation – even and especially in the midst of uncertainty. Because Jesus and his kingdom are near. That is a promise and a guarantee.
But really – how on earth do we prepare for and live with this certain uncertainty? Psalm 122 might offer us a bit of practical help. We can sing. No matter our circumstances and inward or outward trust, confidence, or peace… we can remember that we are on a journey and we can seek the Lord.
Psalm 122 is one of the psalms of ascent – ascribed as a song for pilgrims journeying upwards to Zion and Jerusalem – God’s dwelling place. In some ways they are songs for the displaced or disoriented to sing as they move towards and into God’s presence. An overwhelming sense of gladness and joy grows from this psalm and the instinctive response is to bless others with divine peace. We can sense that these worshipers have tangibly experienced – they have tasted – some of the salvation and justice of the Holy One and it compels them to sing and to bless. They cannot help themselves but to pray for peace and goodness for all of their relations.
This advent, let’s get in on Isaiah’s invitation and choose our response: “O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the Lord”! Perhaps, in this season of certain uncertainty, Jesus will draw near to us and grow in us a deeper and more tangible expectancy for us to notice the nearness of his presence and the approaching of his kingdom.
Come, Lord Jesus, come!
Lisl Baker, Culture and Relationships Coordinator
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!