Advent

We know the lead up to Christmas is often busy and pressured, but that it is also a wonderful moment in our connection with Jesus.

At that first Christmas there was no room at the inn. A statement that provokes us to consider how much room is there at the ‘inn of our lives’ – our hearts – for Jesus this year?

This simple series of readings and prayers, by the Laidlaw College team, offers brief, bite sized songs, readings and prayers that open the door of our lives to the coming of Jesus for us and in us.

Why not read along as the journey of advent unfolds?

Click here for a pdf of this month’s readings.

FIRST WEEK OF ADVENT (December 1)
O Come, O Come Emmanuel
Exodus 3:7-15 | Exodus 15:1-21 | Isaiah 7:10-14 | Zechariah 2 | Revelation 22:12-21
We join the cries of the children of Israel throughout Scripture as we call out for our deliverer — Emmanuel — to come and dwell among us. These songs rise up from exile, out of our desperation, in the loneliness of darkness and from the midst of this world’s suffering. We sing and pray because we know Jesus hears, comes, and delivers us. He has come. And he will come again! Come, quickly, Lord Jesus and be present with us.


SECOND WEEK OF ADVENT (December 8)
Wait for You (Worship Central), Wait for the Lord (Taizé)
Psalm 27 | Isaiah 11 | Matthew 25:1-13 | Luke 1:39-45
The Psalmist urges us to expect to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living by watching and waiting. This is not a passive, helpless waiting but rather a prophetic act of paying attention and staying alert, attentive and ready to welcome his presence like the virgins with their oil-filled lanterns excitedly awaiting their beloved bridegroom. Lord, help us to wait and watch for your presence with wide-awake hope and expectant longing.


THIRD WEEK OF ADVENT (December 15)
Lord Have Mercy, E te Ariki, Kyrie Eleison
Deuteronomy 30 | Jeremiah 2:1-17 | Psalm 51 | Ezekiel 36:24-28 | Acts 3:19-21
The living God offers us abundant life by choosing obedience to his way. And yet how often do we — like the children of Israel — forget this offer and choose our own way instead? God in his loving kindness offers inner transformation (new hearts!) if we return to him, confess and ask. Lord, we confess that we have not loved you with our whole hearts. We have not always chosen your offer of life. We turn and return to you again. Lord, have mercy. Give us new hearts and minds so we may truly love you with our whole selves.


FOURTH WEEK OF ADVENT (December 22)
Angels We Have Heard on High
Malachi 3:13-4:6 | Isaiah 40:1-5 | Luke 1:67-79 | Matthew 11:2-10 | Luke 2:8-14
Wilderness prophet John the Baptist prepared the way and heralded a message of repentance. The light of the world and mighty saviour, long foretold, was coming to rescue his people. Angels sang out the glorious birth announcement — the good news of great joy to shepherds that the Messiah was born. Lord, help us to notice and hear your messengers who bring good news and sing out our response with all of creation: “glory to God in the highest.”


CHRISTMAS DAY (December 25)
Joy to the World, Te Harinui
Luke 1:46-55 | Matthew 1:18-25 | Isaiah 9:2-7 | Luke 2:15-20
The light of the world has broken into the darkness of this world and nothing can snuff him out! Heaven and nature sing! The angels call out holy, holy, holy. The earth bursts with the glory of God as God himself takes on the limits of human flesh and comes as a baby to dwell among his creation in a great act of love. Jesus, we thank you for coming to us as a baby — dependent, vulnerable, and human. We gather with the saints across time and throughout the world to kneel and adore at the feet of our newborn King!


AFTER CHRISTMAS – EPIPHANY & ENCOUNTER
We Three Kings
Luke 2:25-38 | Isaiah 60 | Matthew 2 | Colossians 1:15-20
God is with us in the person of Jesus — fully human and fully divine. This remarkable mystery was revealed to an old man, a faithful prophetess, surprised parents, and foreign travellers. We too are invited to look to and follow “the firstborn of all creation” and “the salvation of the Lord.” God offers ongoing relationship through Jesus — in which we can expect moments of surprising epiphany and divine encounter in our ordinary, everyday lives. Jesus, we look to you. Surprise us with your joy. Guide us into your presence by the Holy Spirit. Behold our eyes have seen, and we want to see, the salvation of
the Lord!