December 23: O Emmanuel (God With Us)

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Courtesy of the Naked Pastor

O Emmanuel, Rex et legifer noster,
exspectatio Gentium, et Salvator earum:
veni ad salvandum nos, Domine, Deus noster

O Emmanuel, our king and our lawgiver,
the hope of the nations and their Saviour:
Come and save us, O Lord our God.

The word Emmanuel, like the second Antiphon Adonai is not of Latin origin, but Hebrew. Emmanu-el…..literally “God with us” points to the central mystery of Christmas….the Incarnation

What I like about the illustration above is the fact that the cartoonist has an arrow pointing towards manure. The mystery of how and why God comes to us in the Flesh–to me–is found in the symbolism of that dung pile.

Our God is a messy God. Who literally arrives knee-deep in shit and mud, and a smelly stable….all so that he can be with us…..to be with his Beloved.

The crap that he encounters in life does not go away. Like all of us, he gets tired, he gets hungry, he feels pain, and yes….even tastes the isolation and pain of death.

The arrival of the baby in Bethlehem is not something that is serene and calm…..Instead, it is loud, in your face, real world encounter.

As we prepare for the celebration of Christmas tomorrow….may we be reminded that our faith requires us to get dirty…..to encounter people where they are…..and that we take to heart the implications of a God who is not far off….but close at hand…..close enough to touch.

Lord Jesus, come soon! Come and be born in our hearts! +

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December 21st: O Oriens (Morning Star)

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O Oriens,
splendor lucis aeternae, et sol justitiae:
veni, et illumina sedentes in tenebris, et umbra mortis.

O Morning Star,
splendour of light eternal and sun of righteousness:
Come and enlighten those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death.

As I lit the Advent candles tonight……I realized that the brightest one…..the one that dispels the darkness completely, is not yet lit.

During the Advent season, we place so much emphasis on preparing, repenting, rejoicing, and expecting that we tend to forget about the big white candle in the middle.

When God burst through the barrier to become human like us, it was to give Light to those who are lost….not to those who already had lamps. Jesus himself said that he came to heal the sick in body, mind or soul….not to attend to those who already were healed.

Just because we are in the last week of this holy season, it doesn’t mean the wreath gets put away at Christmas….rather the four lights that mark our expectation help to point towards our centre…Jesus Christ….who makes us as white as snow and brings us out of darkness into the bright dawn of Day.

Lord Jesus, come soon! Come and be born in our hearts! +

Before Gaudete Sunday finishes…….

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I can’t help myself…..I gotta post this picture again……I can only break it out once a year.

Yep. that’s the Pope. In pink. #winning!

If you haven’t already done so my friends and blog visitors….please cast your vote in the charity poll in the sidebar. πŸ™‚

Morning Prayer: Sunday of Advent 3

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Psalm: 63, 98
Old Testament: Amos 9:1-15
New Testament: 2 Thes. 2:1-3, 13-17

Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and through grace gave us eternal comfort and good hope, comfort your hearts and strengthen them in every good work and word. (2 Thes 2:16-17)

Gaudete! Gaudete! Rejoice my friends….we are halfway towards Christmas πŸ˜€

It’s good to be back on the blog…..and to be honest, I have missed it…..Amazing how prayer and interacting with people about Scripture can become such a routine that it seems there’s something wrong when it can’t be done on a regular basis.

In his correspondence with the church in Thessolonica (and indeed through all the readings appointed for this third Sunday of Advent), Paul takes great to bless those whom he ministers to….and encourages them to go about their lives not only with a sense of direction and grace….but with a sense of gladness…..so that leads me to a question for you to contemplate today.

Where do you find your spiritual joy??? Is it through your work? Family? Friends? Pet? What makes your soul sing? I would love to hear your responses if you care to leave a comment….Be blessed as we wait for the coming of the Lord my dear readers! πŸ™‚ +

Evening Prayer: First Sunday of Advent (New Year’s Day)

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Psalm(s): 146, 147 111, 112, 113
Old Testament: Amos 1:1-5, 13-2:8
New Testament: 1 Thes 5:1-11
Gospel: Luke 21:15-29
Patristic Reading: An excerpt from a treatise of St. Cyril of Jerusalem

for you are all children of light and children of the day; we are not of the night or of darkness (1 Thes 5:4)

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE! πŸ™‚

Here we are again…..a new beginning…….the advent wreath is alight once more to ward off the darkness and to remind us that the doom and gloom of night is not everlasting.

The Advent wreath–like many other customs of the Christian church–finds its origin in pagan ritual. As the winter solstice drew near, and people approached the darkest night of the year, a ritual began of lighting candles to mark the occasion and to prepare for the return of the dawn.

The Church who had long understood Jesus as the Light that never fades, found it appropriate to adopt the pagan custom and to put its own spin on the tradition. Each of the four candles represents something: hope, expectation, joy and peace….concentrating on the coming of God’s kingdom and of readiness.

O Lord Jesus….in this new year….be our hope…come and be born in our hearts. +

Morning Prayer: Christmas Eve

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Psalm(s): 45 , 46
Old Testament: Isaiah 35:1-10
New Testsament: Revelation 22: 12-17, 21
Gospel: Luke 1:67-80

It is I, Jesus, who sent my angel to you with this testimony for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.’
The Spirit and the bride say, β€˜Come.’
And let everyone who hears say, β€˜Come.’
And let everyone who is thirsty come.
Let anyone who wishes take the water of life as a gift.
The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all the saints. Amen.* (Rev 22: 17, 21)

Well here we are on the home-stretch of our Advent journey. I find it fascinating that the end of the Bible takes the form of an invitation. An invitation to know and believe in Jesus Christ.

Even the book of Revelation–which is arguably the harshest text in all of Scripture when it comes to sin and punishment, urges its readers to drink from the waters of life.

Over the last four weeks, we have been joining our voices with those who cry: “Come, Lord Jesus”. As we approach the feast of Christmas, let us remember with love and joy the Christ-child who came to save us. May we remember to always look forward to his coming…not out of fear of judgement and apocalypse, but out of sheer excitment to see our God face-to-face once more. +

Morning Prayer: Thurs. of Advent 4 (Dec. 23rd)

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Psalm(s): 93, 96
Old Testament: Isaiah 33:17-22
New Testament: Revelation 22: 6-11, 18-20

I’m sick with a cold right now so no new posts will be going up until I feel better :(….Pax Christi everyone+

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