Fourth Sunday of Advent [22DEC2013]
Lectionary—A: Psalm 80:1-7, 16-18 ◊ Isaiah 7:10-16 ◊ Romans 1:1-7 ◊ Matt. 1:18-25 ◊
Collect for Fourth Sunday of Advent:
We beseech thee, Almighty God, ,to purify our consciences by the daily visitation, that when thy Son our Lord cometh he may find us a mansion prepared for himself; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Meditation Theme for Week Four: Peace & Incarnation
“Therefore the LORD himself will give you a sign. Look, the virgin is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel (which means ‘God is with us’).” (Isaiah 7:14)
The “true self” is only found in the identity of Jesus Christ. Until we are born again into this God-ordained “self” we live in death… the false self is death—it is no identity at all. This is incarnation, God being born in us, Christ becoming flesh in us and through us. This, now, is Immanuel in us. God with us. God in us.
Richard Rohr shares his thoughts here; “People who are still living in the false self are history stoppers. They use God and religion to protect their own status and the status quo of the world that sustain them. They are often fearful people, the nice proper folks of every age who think like everybody thinks and who have no power to break through, or as Jesus’ opening words put it, ‘to change’ (Mark 1:15, Matt. 4:17).”
“Why do we love and admire people like Mary and Joseph, and then not imitate their faith journeys?” Richard Rohr, Preparing for Christmas: Daily Meditations for Advent.
With each hour the Christmas day celebration draws nearer, the more frantic and rushed the flow of society becomes. The feverish pitches of television commercials, email “last minute to order before Christmas” solicitations, postal sales circulars, and radio commercials stir our collective psyche like a mixing whisk beats an egg into a bubbly froth. The mob mentality takes over so many folks and the swarm begins. I just want to sit…and reflect…and adore…and worship. It’s not that I don’t value tradition and the memories that Christmas evokes, but it is so easy to get sucked into the current that pulls me away from the real object of Christmas, the Christ.
O King of the Gentiles and the Desired of all, you are the cornerstone that binds two into one. Come, and save poor humanity, whom you fashioned out of clay.
I am comforted by the promise and the knowledge that communion and union with God is for us today and the hope we look forward to for tomorrow. The days that spin wildly out of control and the days when friends and loved ones leave us sobbing with grief are the days that make my soul sing the loudest: Come, Lord Jesus!
Incarnation. God with us. God in us.
A reflection inspired by Psalm 80
The living God truly comes to us; makes his face to shine upon us. His Light and presence saves us—He provides a way out of the darkness. Out of Egypt, he leads us, to a good land where we flourish and prosper. He cares and nurtures this branch that he has grafted into the Vine, which is himself. O LORD, our God, your face shines upon us. Amen.
O Antiphon for December 22nd:
O Rex Gentium (Is. 2:4; 9:5): “O King whom all the people’s desire, you are the cornerstone which makes all one. O come and save man whom you made from clay.”
O Almighty God, who by the birth of thy holy child Jesus hast given us a great light to dawn upon our darkness: Grant, we pray thee, that in this light we may see light. Bestow upon us, we beseech thee, that most excellent Christmas gift of charity to all, that so the likeness of thy Son may be formed in us, and that we may have the everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen. -From The Book of Worship