not too much

Monday 5 December

Reveal among us the light of your presence, that we may behold your power and glory.

Readings (Click the links to see the readings)

Isaiah 35.1-10 | Psalm 85.8-13 | Luke 5.17-26 |

Advent (a second extracts)
Robert Cording

IV.
This is the night we have given for your birth.
After the cherished hymns, the prayers, the story
Of the one who will become peacemaker,
Healer of the sick, the one who feeds
The hungry and raises the dead,
We light small candles and stand in the dark
Of the church, hoping for the peace
A child knows, hoping to forget career, mortgage,
Money, hoping even to turn quietly away
From the blind, reductive selves inside us.
We are a picture a child might draw
As we sing Silent night, holy night,
And yet, each of us trying to inhabit the moment
That is passing, you seem to live in between
The words we fill with our longing.
The time has come
To admit I believe in the simple astonishment
Of a newborn.
And also to say plainly, as Pascal knew, that you will live
In agony even to the end of the world,
Your will failing to be done on earth
As it is in heaven.
O come, O come Emmanuel,
I am a ghost waiting to be made flesh by love
I am too imperfect to bear.
—The Southern Review 40.2, Spring 2004, p. 230.

Prayer

For the desert places in which we walk
The streets we roam
The paths we cross
Guide our feet
Take us to places
Where you would go
Give us words that you would use
That in this Advent season
Of promise and preparation
We might point the way with John the Baptist
To the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!

Reflection

"Your real life is Christ and when he appears, then you too will appear with him and share his glory!" (Colossians 3.4)

St Paul writes as though the reality of Christ's life in his people never completely becomes visible in this life, in this world: the deepest truth of who we are in Jesus Christ is hidden. When we try to pretend that the holiness of Jesus is triumphantly visible in the Church, we are in danger of turning our minds away from the fact that the enduring power that sustains the Church is Christ alone, not our measures of success or coherence. But it is still true that—as Paul can say elsewhere, in 2 Corinthians, for example—the glory of the future can be seen from time to time in lives that are fully turned to the face of Jesus.

As we advance into Advent, we need to keep both these insights in our minds: the treasure of the gospel is in earthenware pots, yet the glory of Christ can be seen in human faces. We have not arrived at the end of all things, but we long for it because we have seen something of its radiance and joy in the life of the Christian community and its worship and service. … we are still privileged to see the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ in different ways within our common life, and so are reminded by God's grace that it is still Christ who lives secretly at the heart of our fellowship, and renews it day by day.
—Rowan Williams, Advent letter to the Anglican Primates, 2012.


Alessandro Botticelli, Mystical Nativity, c, 1500, National Gallery, London

Lasst uns froh und munter sein (Let us be happy and cheerful). German Christmas carol. Jazz version played by Michael Gundlach


"Lasst uns froh und munter sein", ("Let us be happy and cheerful") is a traditional German Christmas carol from the Hunsrück/Taunus region, traditionally sung on St Nicholas Eve (Nikolausabend), 5 December.

Lasst uns froh und munter sein
und uns recht von Herzen freun!
Lustig, lustig, tralera-lera,
bald ist Nikolausabend da,
bald ist Nikolausabend da!

Bald ist uns're Schule aus;
dann zieh'n wir vergnügt nach Haus.
Lustig, lustig, …

Dann stell ich den Teller auf,
Nikolaus legt gewiß was drauf.
Lustig, lustig, …

Wenn ich schlaf, dann träume ich:
Jetzt bringt Nikolaus was fü mich.
Lustig, lustig, …

Wenn ich aufgestanden bin,
lauf ich schnell zum Teller hin.
Lustig, lustig, …

Nikolaus ist ein guter Mann,
dem man nicht g'nug danken kann.
Lustig, lustig, …

Let us be happy and cheerful
And really be happy in our hearts!
Jolly, jolly, tralala-lala,
Soon Nicholas Eve is here!
Soon Nicholas Eve is here!

Soon our school day ends,
Home I'll go with all my friends.
Jolly, jolly, …

Then I put the plate out
Nick'll surely put somethin' on it.
Jolly, jolly, …

When I sleep, then I dream:
Now Nicholas brings me something.
Jolly, jolly, …

When I am woken up,
I run quickly to the plate.
Jolly, jolly, …

Nicholas is a good man
Whom we can't thank enough.
Jolly, jolly, …

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5 December is International Volunteer Day for Economic and Social Development.


May the Lord, when he comes, find us watching and waiting. Amen.