11 December 2022
Bible readings for today
Liturgical Colour: VIOLET
Terror and doom, and wrath to come,
John your herald preached
to bring us to repentance;
open our eyes, almighty God,
show us our sin, and grant us forgiveness.
Hear this prayer for your love’s sake.
E te Atua kaha rawa,
i kauwhautia e Hoani,
kei te haere mai te tūwiri te mataku me te riri
kia tū rīpenetā mātou;
whakatūwheratia ō mātou ngākau,
whakaaturia ō mātou hara, ā, murua.
Whakarongo ki tēnei īnoi i runga i tōu aroha.
3rd Sunday of Advent
If your congregation uses a pink candle in its Advent wreath, then you could explain that today is Gaudete Sunday.
Make the link to the theme of the day ‘Joy’, and to the Maori word of the day.
Advent Wreath Liturgy
A simple liturgy for lighting your candles in the Advent Wreath, from Build Faith (Use the third week!) written by Rev. Matthew Kozlowski
Lighting The Candle of Joy
The third week of Advent
What you’ll need:
The advent wreath with 3 candles
What you do:
Have one member of the family light the three candles; the candle of joy (this candle may be pink or purple or any other colour you choose) along with the first two candles (hope and peace).
Ask your family to tell you about the first two candles.
Tell your children that today’s candle is the candle of joy. Talk together about joy and what it is. Today’s lesson at church was about giving to others, sharing and leading an honest life as a way to help prepare us for Jesus’ coming. Talk about the joy that we can get from sharing what we have with others.
Helping our Children Experience Joy
We all want to help our children experience joy. Sometimes it can be tempting to accomplish this through giving our children what they want (or what we think they want), but there’s another way to encourage and facilitate joy in the lives of our family. Instead of giving to them, create opportunities for your children to give to others. Not just physical things, but rather, find situations in which your family can serve and help those who are less fortunate. At Christmas time there are a number of possibilities. Try contacting the Salvation Army, the City Mission or speak with someone at your church to find a way for your children to experience the joy of Christmas through giving of themselves to others.
Koa - Joy
Our te reo word for the week is koa, which means joy.
Your can download these free printable illustrations on our Strandz website
Bible Project: Joy
John the Baptist (Matthew 11:2-11)
“Are you the Messiah we’ve been expecting, or should we keep looking for someone else?” In the Gospel reading for today, John asks Jesus to confirm that he is in fact the messiah they have all been waiting for.
Interactive journey prayers
What you need:
- A notice board (or other board that can accommodate push pins) — the larger the better (note: if you have a large congregation or group having a number of smaller boards could be helpful, or use 2 or more balls of wool)
- A large ball of wool - any colour
- Push pins
- Put the board on a table at a height that everyone can reach. Use a step stool or chair that smaller children will be able to stand on if necessary.
- Explain what the prayer activity is (see below) and say something like, “as you move the wool on the board, think about the journey that you are on towards Christmas and welcoming Jesus.”
- Start by putting a tack through the beginning of the wool. Pass the ball to the next person and allow them to stretch out a bit of wool and put a tack down to hold the wool in place (there will now be a straight line).
- Continue passing the wool to each member of the group of congregation. The lines can be long or short. They can double back.
- When everyone has finished, conclude the prayer time by thanking God for the journey that each person is on, and asking God to help us keep our hearts open to him during this time of preparation and anticipation.
Who was John the Baptist?
You can find more about John in Matthew 3:1-6, but the words that Jesus uses to describe him in today's reading is fascinating: "“I tell you the truth, of all who have ever lived, none is greater than John the Baptist. Yet even the least person in the Kingdom of Heaven is greater than he is!"
Is Jesus the Messiah?
Yes! In today's reading, Jesus confirms that all the signs of the messiah have been made fulfilled in him. “Go back to John and tell him what you have heard and seen-- the blind see, the lame walk, those with leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life, and the Good News is being preached to the poor.”
Mary and Elizabeth (Luke 1:47-55)
In these beautiful words from Mary to Elizabeth, we read of a woman giving a thankful testimony to God's goodness and provision. Mary has just travelled to see her cousin Elizabeth, after a visit from the angel telling her she was going to have a son. Elizabeth was 3months pregnant with John (the Baptist), and Mary shares these words of joy.
Luke 1:47-55 (MSG)
And Mary said,
I’m bursting with God-news;
I’m dancing the song of my Savior God.
God took one good look at me, and look what happened--
I’m the most fortunate woman on earth!
What God has done for me will never be forgotten,
the God whose very name is holy, set apart from all others.
His mercy flows in wave after wave
on those who are in awe before him.
He bared his arm and showed his strength,
scattered the bluffing braggarts.
He knocked tyrants off their high horses,
pulled victims out of the mud.
The starving poor sat down to a banquet;
the callous rich were left out in the cold.
He embraced his chosen child, Israel;
he remembered and piled on the mercies, piled them high.
It’s exactly what he promised,
beginning with Abraham and right up to now.