Advent 3 Lighten Up! – Martin Stewart


John 1:6-9

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.

Do we think much about what we bring to whatever room we enter?

Do we lighten the room up with our presence and attitude, or do we darken it?

Does how we are make a difference?
Of course it does!

The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.

When we are hurried, harried, distracted, grumpy, indifferent, and self-serving as any other person, who is attending to making room for the light?

In your mind’s eye, picture the rooms you have entered this last week.
What did you bring into those spaces?

Picture the presence of Jesus, the true light, in each of those rooms.
Did you or anyone else sense or seek his presence?

In your mind’s eye, picture some of the rooms you will enter this next week.
What will you bring to these spaces?

Look for the presence of Jesus there.
Be open to being surprised.
Be open to bearing witness to him in simple light ways.

Lighten Up!

[The following words could be spoken after the song]

Blessed Are You Who Bear the Light by Jan Richardson

Music suggestion:  Odetta – This Little Light Of Mine (with spoken introduction)

Background to the theme:

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 and holiday 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! 

Words & Images by Martin Stewart (unless otherwise stated)

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