Lighten Up! An Advent Resource for 2017 – Martin Stewart

Lighten Up!
An Advent Resource for 2017
Prepared by Martin Stewart

Advent in New Zealand is celebrated in summer – the season of light.

The days are at their longest, the night has to find its way in whatever gaps are left.  Summertime is also holiday time for many people thus there is a horizon through December of lighter days, less pressure, family get-togethers, and time and space to relax.

But there is a lot to get through until that space arrives, thus Advent in New Zealand is fraught with busyness, work deadlines, and pressure to get everything done, including all of the Christmas arrangements.

For most, the weeks that lead up to Christmas can have an element of being burdensome.
To what degree do we end up walking towards Christmas too heavily?
Can we make something of this season of light and more intentionally let the light in?
Is there also an invitation to the church to relax a little, to enjoy this time that reminds us of why we do what we do?

The light has come.  It has come already!  We are pointing to what the world has already been graced with.  God is with us!
It really is time to lighten up and join in with what God is doing!

Thus the theme, Lighten Up!  On Tuesday of each week through Advent I will post a resource on Candour for you to use, borrow, adapt (or ignore) the following Sunday.  It will include a bible passage, a photograph, some words, and a question for quiet reflection.
The idea is that you might invite people into a gentle reflective space at the start of weekly worship so that even our worship is entered into lightly!

Advent 1

Psalm 60:1 proclaims words of release from all that burdens us: “Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.”

Advent 2
John’s Gospel has the Baptist telling us of the one who is ‘the true light, which enlightens everyone, [and] was coming into the world.’

Advent 3
Jesus invites us into the light saying, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.’

Advent 4

Jesus calls out to those who might listen, to let our lights shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.

Christmas Eve/Day
John, in his great prologue, paints the big picture…in Jesus was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.  Oh we really must lighten up!