3 December 2023
Bible readings for today
Liturgical Colour: VIOLET
God of hope,
When Christ your Son appears
may he not find us asleep or idle,
but active in his service and ready;
through the same Jesus Christ our Redeemer.
E te Atua o te tūmanako,
kia puta mai tāu Tama te Karaiti
aua ia e kite i a mātou e moe ana, e māngere ana,
engari kia tū mataara i roto i āna mahi;
E īnoi ai mātou i roto i a te Karaiti tō mātou Kaihoko. Āmine.
1st week of Advent: Hope
Lighting the Advent Candle
The lighting of the Advent candles each week is a wonderful opportunity to remind us what each candle stands for and gather us together for our journey through Advent. In all the mess and busyness in our lives, God brings hope. The focus this week in Advent is Hope.
Today we light the candle of hope, but this kind of hope, isn't just about wishing we had something. No, this kind of hope, the kind that Jesus gives us, is when we know something is going to happen. We hope that he's coming soon and we know he will because that's what God promised. Jesus is coming and we need to get ready.
A candle of hope
What you need:
What you do:
Light one candle to symbolise Hope.
Say: This is the candle of Hope.
Read Luke 1: 26-38 about the angel Gabriel coming to tell Mary she would be the mother of the Son of God.
Say: I wonder what Mary hoped for. I wonder what you hope for.
Pray: Thank you God for giving us Hope and for helping us know that something wonderful is coming even when things are hard. Help us to remember that we can always have hope because you are always there for us.
Something is coming Advent resource (Intergen AU)
Rags to Riches - An intergenerational all age service (SUNZ)
Intergenerational Christmas resource (mainly Ministries)
Source: Sun Hats and Wellie Boots
Kiwi Advent Illustrations
You can download these Kiwi Advent Illustrations over on our Strandz website
At home advent calendars
Salt Dough Spiral
Jesse Tree (SUNZ)
Another option is to use a candle, and mark off 24 sections (leaving a stub big enough to put in your candle holder and safely light the candle on Christmas Eve). Burn the candle each day. A taller, thinner candle will work better than a pillar candle as children can easily see the candle getting shorter each day. You will find an example and instructions here, though just writing the numbers on the candle with a permanent marker also works!
BibleProject have an Advent poster for Hope, you can download it here
Advent Wreath Song
A simple song that can be sung after the lighting of the Advent candle each week (to the tune of Frere Jacques)
Light of Jesus, Light of Jesus,
Show the way, Show the way,
Shine in us forever, Shine in us forever,
This we pray, This we pray.
Keep watch (Mark 13:24-37)
These verses are part a longer private conversation that Jesus was having with Peter, Jame and John, as they sat on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple. They asked Jesus, “Tell us, when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are all about to be fulfilled?”
In today's passage, the gospel writer says: “Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that it is near, right at the door.
Here in New Zealand, this image of the ripening fig tree could also be seen in the blooming Pohutakawa trees. When you see these ordinary green trees start to turn red, you know that Christmas, and summer, is on its way...
Pohutakawa Christmas Decoration activity. Print off the template (either page 1 - black and white, or page 2 - colour), trim and add some string for attaching to the tree or hanging. You could print these out larger on A3 if you wanted to get a bigger bloom!
Download template (both)
A new church year! And we start, as we usually do, with one of the rather disturbing New Testament passages which have often been understood to refer to the "end times." Wars and rumours of wars and fig trees! Fortunately we have a great team to lead us through the puzzles of this teaching of Jesus. Jerry Morris, Joel Stutter, and Emma Wilson join Michael Godfrey to launch us into "year B" of the lectionary.
An intergenerational worship resource from Intergen Australia, written by Elizabeth Waldron Anstice.
Red Light, Green Light
Use this stop/go signpost game to introduce the theme of John the Baptist being a signpost to Jesus.
Supplies: Two circles of card: one red, one green
To play, one person is chosen to be the traffic cop.
All the players stand on the starting line about 5 metres away from the traffic cop who has his back to the rest of the players.
When he says "green light" and holds up the green circle behind his back, players try to run to the finish line to "Win"
But if the traffic cop says "red light," he quickly turns around and players have to stop in their tracks.
If the traffic cop catches a player moving, he sends them back to the starting line.
First person to cross the finish line wins and becomes the new traffic cop.
Debrief: Talk about where children see stop lights (eg: traffic lights, pedestrian crossings, train crossings) and what other signposts they've seen on the road that point out things ahead (eg: school ahead, horses crossing, elderly people ahead). Explain that today we will be hearing about John the Baptist who was like a signpost pointing the way to Jesus coming.
Games: Be ready!
Play some games that keep the children 'on their toes' - they have to be prepared for the next instruction, just like the passage tells us to watch and wait. Some group games could include: