Readings (Click the links to see the readings)
Isaiah 29.11-24 | Psalm 27 .9 17 | Matthew 9.27-31 |
Why did He choose a northern maid
From Nazareth, who had to trade
Her Galilee for Judah just
To get Messiah where He must
Be born? A strange and roundabout
Procedure for a God, no doubt,
Who values His efficiency
And rules the world from sea to sea!
Why not a girl from Bethlehem?
Well half the girls in town would stem
From David’s line. And carpenters
Aplenty there could bear the slurs
And gossip on a virgin got
with child, who blushed and said she’d not
Once kissed her man this whole year past.
Why not? Because God’s power is vast,
And in one little virgin birth
His sovereign joy and mighty mirth
In saving us from evil bent
Could never, never rest content.
Instead He turned and set His sight
To spangle Rome with all His might;
And took a girl from Galilee
To magnify His sovereignty.
And made the Roman king conspire
With God, to serve a purpose higher
Than he or any in the realm
Could see—a stroke to overwhelm
A few with faith and cause their heart
To know the truth, at least in part,
That, though God loves efficiency
And rules the world from sea to sea,
He does not go from here to there
By shortest routes to save His fare.
He’d rather start in Galilee,
Then pass a law in Rome, you see,
To get the child down south at length,
And magnify His sovereign strength.
God rules the flukes of history
To see that Micah’s prophecy
Comes true. Why did He choose a maid
From Nazareth? Perhaps she prayed
That endless mercy might abound
And take the longer way around.
The mighty mercy we adore
As we light advent candle four.
—John Piper. Desiring God)
God of the waiting,
give us courage to wait with those in the most broken places of the world,
and with all those who struggle to be bearers of hope there.
We pray with those who wait for wars to stop, for violence to cease.
God of the waiting, turn conflict into peace.
And we pray for those who have given up on the coming of hope,
because they feel they wait in vain at checkpoints, at borders, for jobs, for food,
and for all those whose lives are crushed under the structures and systems of injustice.
God of the waiting, wait with your world.
Turn anger into reconciliation,
and our lack of hope into courage,
so that our waiting may be over and
all the things of darkness shall be no more.
—Christian Aid UK.
Unknown Iconographer, Northern Russia (c.1490), St Nicholas with Scenes from his Life, Ikonen-Museum, Recklinghausen
Ríu Ríu Chíu, a C16th Spanish villancico, sung by Anúna.
The nativity of Christ is the central theme:
Ríu, ríu, chíu, la guarda ribera
Dios guardó el lobo de nuestra cordera
([With a cry of] Ríu, ríu, chíu, the kingfisher, God, drove the wolf away from Our Lamb.)