Sunday, 24 December 2017

#Pause for Advent 4

Recap of previous weeks; I'm reading Luke's Gospel "backwards" through Advent. In week 1, I started at the Resurrection of Christ. In week 2, I gathered my strength and tackled the Passion of Christ, which is dealt with mercifully concisely in the King James Version of the gospel. This week was all about the Ministry of Christ, from being Baptised by John the Baptist as far as just before the Passover Meal. That is from Chapter 2 to Chapter 19. Jesus certainly had a busy busy busy three years. I found a map showing the places he visited here

If you want to get a sense of scale, the Sea of Galillee is about 13 miles long.

Towards the end of Chapter 19, Jesus is talking about the Second Coming;

"Don’t let the sharp edge of your expectation get dulled by parties and drinking and shopping. Otherwise, that Day is going to take you by complete surprise" (from "The Message" by Eugene H. Peterson)

It struck me that is exactly how Christmas Day sometimes arrives all of a sudden, with all the sense of awe and expectation lost amid the chaos and scheduling of getting ready.

So, here is this week's #Pause - I will be reading the first few Chapters tonight, concerning the Birth of Christ. I may well go back to the old King James, for the familiar, traditional words...

and then I might listen again to O Magnum Mysterium composed by Morten Lauridsen

O magnum mysterium, et admirabile sacramentum, ut animalia viderent Dominum natum, lacentem in praesepio!
Beata Virgo, cujus viscera meruerunt portare Dominum lesum Christum.

O great mystery, and wonderful sacrament, that animals should see the new-born Lord, lying in a manger!
Blessed is the Virgin whose womb was worthy to bear our Saviour, Jesus Christ.

and then I might imagine myself to be this child... as related by Stephen Cottrell in his book From "Do Nothing; Christmas is Coming: An Advent Calendar with a Difference"

December 24

File:Nativity scene @ Eglise Notre-Dame de Lorette @ Paris (31523272300).jpg
"One of my best Christmas memories is from the church in Chichester where I was the parish priest. Because the building was so small, and because every other available inch of space was needed for chairs, we used to put the crib underneath the altar. One Christmas morning, about halfway through the service, a little girl, Miriam, toddled up to the front of the church. She can only have been about two or three at the time. For several minutes she stood before the crib, gazing intently at the figures. Then, very carefully, so as not to wake the baby, she stepped inside and sat down. And as people looked at the crib that Christmas, as well as the shepherds and the angels and the ox and the ass, and Mary and Joseph and the baby Jesus, they saw Miriam. She sat there for the rest of the service, content to have become part of the story. She was the best Christmas sermon I have ever experienced. I think this is also the best example I can muster of the how to get ready for Christmas this year.

The other bloggers contributing to #Pause for Advent can be found at Tracing Rainbows. Many  thanks to Angela for hosting the #Pauses.

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