A number of resources have been developed to help enrich your Advent journey, including weekly guided reflections on the Advent readings, Sunday gospel reflections, and other multimedia resources to help you engage with Scripture from a contemporary perspective. Our hope is that these opportunities might deepen your sense of Advent anticipation, as you await and prepare for God’s great gift of love and hope for our world: Jesus.

Journeying Advent—Sunday gospel reflection

This resource has been prepared with the Sunday gospel reading as a focus and offers an opportunity for individuals and/or groups to read, reflect and pray.

Scripture reflections—Sunday Mass readings

To break open the Mass readings for the Fourth Sunday of Advent, Scripture scholar Fr Trevor Tibbertsma explores the central characters and themes, posing insightful questions for personal reflection and/or discussion in a parish, school or home setting. The following questions are also offered for personal or group reflection.

Questions for reflection:

  • How do you think Mary might have felt in this mysterious encounter with the Archangel Gabriel?
  • John the Evangelist says that we cannot love God and hate our neighbour (1 John 4:20). How can we welcome others so as to receive Christ this Christmas?
  • Can you think of a time when you or someone you know had to say ‘yes’ to God and God’s way, which involved a difficult ‘no’ to something else?

Further questions for discussion:

  • What did you hear that was new to you? Excited you? Challenged you?
  • How might this assist you to prepare, anticipate, engage in Jesus’ coming?
  • How might this be used in your context?

Advent Voices: ‘Stay Awake’

This audio resource explores key figures of the Advent readings through a personal lens. During this fourth and final week of Advent, Maria Forde reflects on Mary, the mother of Jesus and the inspiration she provides as we prepare for Jesus to be born anew at Christmas. Maria is a well-known Celtic singer, musician and teacher resides in rural Trentham. She has recently completed a Masters in Theological Studies, including spiritual direction.

Real Conversations

A four-part series exploring the big questions confronting us during this time of pandemic. As well as providing material for individual or group reflection during this Season of Advent, each episode shares different ways we can survive, thrive and look forward with hope borne from faith—in a God who loves, cares and accompanies us. In this fourth and final episode, our guest Fr Jake Mudge explores ways we can allow ourselves to be grasped—and transformed by God’s love.

Songs of hope: An Advent Spotify playlist

Our hopes and dreams for the coming kingdom are often most meaningfully expressed through song. This year, as opportunities to meet and sing together are limited by COVID restrictions, music can still form a rich part of our Advent experience, but perhaps in a different way.

This Spotify playlist features examples of familiar Advent hymns and anthems, and some less familiar Advent-themed songs, from a broad range of eras, styles, and artists. Two pieces of music have been selected for each day of Advent, each broadly related to a passage from the daily Mass readings. You might like to use the playlist as a daily devotional tool—individually or with your household—look at the Mass readings and then listening prayerfully to the songs selected for that day. Or you might simply like to use it as a kind of ‘soundtrack’ for your Advent journey, listening to it as you drive or cook dinner or do the housework.

A Christmas playlist is also available for the Season of Christmas.

4th Sunday in Advent (20 December)

‘In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, ‘Greetings, favoured one! The Lord is with you.’

—Luke 1: 26–28

Monday of the 4th week of Advent (21 December)

God’s presence among us, our King, our Judge:
save us, Lord our God!’

—Gospel acclamation

Tuesday of the 4th week of Advent (22 December)

‘My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord
and my spirit exults in God my saviour.’

—Luke 1:46

Wednesday of the 4th week of Advent (23 December)

‘Lift your heads high and see:
your redemption is near at hand.’

—Psalm response

Thursday of the 4th week of Advent (24 December)

‘By the tender mercy of our God,
the dawn from on high will break upon us,
to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace.’

—Luke 1:78–79

Christmas Day (25 December)

‘What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.’

—John 1: 4–5