Visual Arts & Drama - Sunday, 17 December 2023 – Third Sunday of Advent, Year B


  • The following symbols may be used for decoration during Advent, as the basis of banners or other decorations, or in bulletins:
  • Prophetic scroll. The scroll could be inscribed with the words, ‘Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son’
  • Star of David (a six-pointed star)
  • Angel
  • Lilies (Virgin Mary). Traditionally lilies have been one of the most common symbols of Mary, especially from the twelfth century onward. In almost all pictures of the annunciation she is shown holding a lily. It is a symbol of virginity and purity, and hence of the virgin birth
  • Messianic rose. This symbol, which could also be used for Christmas, may consist of a five-petalled white rose. It is a symbol of the promised Messiah; see John 4:25, Isa 35:1, Song of Sol 2:1; also LHS 622* (TIS 294) ‘Behold, a rose is growing’ (*Modernised version available)
  • Sun of righteousness. This refers to Mal 4:2, and consists of a stylised sun, perhaps with a chi rho (or the word CHRIST) in its centre
  • Tau cross (with bronze snake). A type of the Saviour-Messiah to come; see Num 21:4-10
  • Symbols of John the Baptist – lamb with banner, baptismal shell, locust and bee or beehive, camel-hair coat
  • Symbols of coming new life – shoot growing from old stump, embryo in circle, coiled new fern frond (traditional Maori symbol of new life with a hint of the foetus). The latter two are particularly suitable for the Fourth Sunday of Advent, as the birth of Christ draws near
  • Symbols of Christ’s coming in word and sacrament – shell (with three drops of water), blue wavy waves, grapes and wheat, chalice and host, scroll or open Bible
  • Symbols of Christ’s coming again in glory – burning lamp (with jar of oil) (see Matt 25:1-13), trumpet(s), angels(s) with trumpet(s), cloud with lightning or rays of glory, crown.

Altar Colour: Blue/Violet

Images for This Week's Readings and Sermons

You can access excellent examples of church art relevant to each season of the Church year on the Visual Arts website. The image on these Advent pages is from a painting by LCA artist Helen Sherriff.

PPT Slides (Widescreen): / Advent Candle - Advent 3 / The Heavens - Advent 3 / Following the Star / Wise Men Journeying / Advent Candle Light Background

PPT Slides (Standard): / Advent Candle - Advent 3 / The Heavens - Advent 3 / Following the Star / Wise Men Journeying / Advent Candle Light Background

Simply download your preferred slides and copy the liturgy and songs into each slide.

Recommended Sources for Images

His Word in Pictures
Refreshed Art Designs
Agnus Day


Dramatising the Readings

The readings can be read by more than one person to make the dramatic meaning of the text clearer.

For instance, the first reading could be read by three readers: a reader to introduce and close the reading, Isaiah, the Lord (vv 8,9); and the gospel could be read by three readers: narrator (the pastor), priest/levite, John.

Drama Resources