Reveal among us the light of your presence, that we may behold your power and glory.
Readings (Click the links to see the readings)
William Bell Scott (Scotland, 1811-90). The Nativity. National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh. Scott locates the nativity scene in Penkill, Ayrshire.
Three Abstractions for Advent
A subtle irony of our new age
While Joseph mostly had enough to do
On Christmas Eve as candles feebly calm
God of hope
O Come Divine Messiah, The Barra MacNeils (Cape Breton, Canada).
St Andrew: Scotland's Patron Saint
30 November is Cities for Life Day, a worldwide festivity in which numerous leading cities illuminate their most significant monuments to support the abolition of the death penalty.
And at the end of the four-week journey what happens? We're faced with the greatest most shocking paradox of all: the power, the love and the energy that made and sustains the universe—speechless, helpless, cold, homeless, a baby. It's as if once we've started letting go of all our fantasies and all our hopes about getting the world under control, we're on the way to coming to terms with a God who will run away from our hopes of control and understanding, the God who is beyond compare.
When you have piled up everything you know about power in the world you will have said nothing about the power of God. When you have piled up all that you know of love in the world you'll have hardly begun to say anything about the truth of God's love. And when you have filled heaven and earth with all the words you can think of, the word of God comes through in the silence of the night at Bethlehem.
As we let go of our hopes and fantasies of controlling, containing, securing the world and ourselves, it's not just that we're allowing the world to be itself. At the end of the day we're allowing God to be God; allowing God to be not one thing among others, not one little bit of the world jostling for position with other bits of the world, for God to be, and to be that life from which all being and all life flows.
And it seems we can only get that point when we see that energy, that power, in the weakness of God made flesh among us. We turn from that extraordinary vision to heaven in ordinary, to looking at our neighbours and the things of our world with new eyes, looking with those wide angelic eyes that see everything and everyone around us as pregnant with God, as capable of surprising us into new life and new vision and new action. We begin to see a world transformed … the world in relation to God in its own life, its own beauty, its own freedom.