Wednesday 7 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 44.25-31 | Psalm 103.1-5 | Matthew 11.28-30 |

Nativity scene from Enrique de Arfe's C16th gold monstrance, in the Mosque-Cathedral of Córdoba, Spain
The monstrance is over 2m high, but this scene set into it is quite small.
Click the image to enlarge it

Christopher de Vinck

The tin cock
Points north.

And the barn
Is weathered.

Wide cracks
In the wall
Are stuffed
With gold straw.

A shiver
And the wind
Blows dark as
The sheep press
Against each other
For warmth.

They catch
Their wool
Against the
Wood fence.

They sway
These beasts.
They rock
Against the cold.
They anticipate
The man-call.
The shepherd
Emmanuel, and
His staff.

They have
Forgotten, again.
Their way
To the green side
Of the mountain.
—America 147.18, 12 April 1982, p. 353.

Giovanni Gabrieli. Salvator noster for 15 voices in 3 choirs, with orchestra (1615).
Cond. Jean Tubery, Patriarchal Basilica of St Mark's, Venice

Salvator noster, hodie dilectissimi natus est.
Gaudeamus omnes exultet igitur sanctus.
Qui appropinquat ad palmam.
Gaudeat peccator, quia invitatur ad veniam animetur gentilis,
quia invitatur ad vitam: alleluia.


Creator God, you who love us more than we can know
Who chose us from the very beginning to be family
We praise your holy name
Jesus Christ, Son of God, Word become flesh
Who dwelt among us and was sacrificed for us
We praise your holy name
Holy Spirit, present and power in our lives
From the moment that we first believed
We praise your holy name.


The Christian in Advent needs to listen—to such a degree that this season becomes both a season of joyful expectancy and a season of poverty—the knowledge that we cannot talk and touch ourselves into life, the deep poverty of the imagination which can only stand helplessly before the outrages and miseries of our world, utterly at a loss for a word of meaning or hope to speak. We are here at all, celebrating Advent … because there has been a word of unexpected interruption, a word that establishes for good the difference between the God we expect and the God who comes, a word that shows us once and for all what an idol looks like in the face of truth. We are here because those acts we call liberation and absolution have turned our history into new and strange courses …

Yet we cannot imagine how tomorrow and the day after that form of liberation and absolution will renew itself, how the word will go on making itself heard to renew ,the world. We are perpetually looking to and giving thanks for an uncovenanted event, a transforming newness, the history of Israel and Jesus; we are perpetually "on the eve" of God's coming, knowing and not knowing what it will be. Advent insists that we stay for a while in this tension of being "on the eve," if only in order that the new thing we celebrate at Christmas may have a chance of being truly new for us, not a stale and pious cliché.
—Rowan Williams, "Advent: a University Sermon," in A Ray of Darkness: Sermons and Reflections (Lanham: Cowley, 1995).

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

Prayers used in this 2016 Advent Calendar are © John Birch, 2016, at and used with permission under a Creative Commons Licence.
St Philip's Anglican Church, corner Moorhouse and Macpherson Streets, O'Connor, ACT 2602