Beauty surrounds us, but we usually need to be walking in a garden to know it - Rumi
Throughout Advent we have been waiting with joyous hope and anticipation for the coming of the Christ-child. This last week our evening prayer has included verses from the book of the prophet Isaiah. Each day Jesus is addressed by a different title: Wisdom, Lord, Root of Jesse, Key of David, Rising Sun, King of Nations and finally yesterday’s Antiphon, O Emmanuel (God is with us). In the Revised Standard Version of the Bible today’s verse reads: ‘Because you do, the Lord of His own accord will give you a sign; it is this; a young woman is with child, and she will give birth to a son and call him Immanuel.’ Isaiah 7:14
Like Christian communities across the world the congregation of St Mary Magdalene will gather at 11.30 tonight for Midnight Mass. The preparations have been made, all is now ready for as St Matthew writes: “At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’ Matthew25:6(NIV). Isaiah’s prophecy has been fulfilled! God is with us! Of course, Christ was not born some 2000 years ago never to return, God is with us now and will remain with us all the days of our lives. Yet remember that Jesus did promise that He will return again in glory to take us to Himself. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. John 14:3 (NIV) The baby Jesus can now be placed in the crib in the Nativity scene as a reminder of that wonderful gift and promise of God.
Our only reaction must be to join with St Paul and cry: 4 Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.5 Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.6 Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:4-7(NIV)
That said let us not forget those who will spend this Christmas without loved ones, especially for the first time, or are facing illness or poverty. May the peace of God that passes all understanding find a way into their hearts.
I wish you all a blessed Christmas and a New Year where peace prevails.
Peter is a father and a grandfather who has been retired from full time employment for a number of years