Friday 9 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 48.17-19 | Psalm 1 | Matthew 11.16-19 |

"Advent", from Growth
by Charles R,. Murphy.

Out of as silence greater than all words;
Over the unspeakable, dumb,
Everlasting hill
With their muter herds;
Swifter than a blade that kills;
Mightier than prayer;
Fairer than the dawn
When some dew yet remains unbroken;
Stronger than despair;
From the unspoken to the spoken,
While the heart rests momently;
Lovely as the half-uttered words of a child,
More delicate more mild;
Terrible as the torn breast of and anguish
When strong wills languish:
Suddenly, dreadfully, exquisitely
Love, death and God shall come.
—Poetry 15.5, August 1921, pp. 235-6.


Creator and Redeemer
You did not plant the seed of this earth
Into the universe as if by chance
It was your hand that placed it here
Your plan to grow it here
You did not populate this earth
With a people made in your image
Purely by chance
It was your hand that placed us here
Your breath that keeps us here
You did not come as a tiny child
To walk this earth as if by chance
It was your Love that brought you here
Your Grace that saved us here
Our Creator and Redeemer.


9 December is International Day of Commemoration and Dignity of the Victims of the Crime of Genocide and of the Prevention of this Crime and the anniversary of the signing of the 1948 Genocide Convention.

It is also also UN International Anti-Corruption Day.

Jan Groneberg. Nativity Scene, 2009

G. F. Handel. "Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion" from Messiah. Joan Sutherland. English Chamber Orchestra, cond. Richard Bonynge


I always find at about this point before Christmas that I seem to be getting a lot of cards from people I've forgotten to send cards to. You know the sort of thing—'Who's this one from? Frank and Gladys? No, I think it's Peter and Sylvia. Oh no, we didn't send one to them. And didn't they move two years ago? And where did I put the new address? And anyway it's past the last date for posting …'

One of the little trials of the pre-Christmas season. But why do we—or why do I, anyway—worry quite so much about this? Of course I don't want my friends to think I'm rude or something. But I suspect we feel at a bit of a disadvantage. Someone's given us something, and we feel we have to keep our end up, otherwise we're in their debt and that feels uncomfortable. When we were in Pakistan a couple of weeks ago, we were so weighed down with generous gifts that we could hardly get on the plane coming back—and we felt a bit awkward about handing out the rather modest little presents we'd brought.

But actually this is one thing I find Christmas helps me with. The story we tell at Christmas is about a gift so enormous that we could never keep our end up or pay it back, the gift of a complete love and forgiveness that we haven't earned or deserved and never could. It's God's gift. Don't even think about finding something equivalent to give in return. Just be glad to be loved like that. It might even help with the Christmas card from Peter and Sylvia and the lost addresses. They think you're worth bothering with; just be glad of it.
—Rowan Williams. Christmas message, 2005, BBC radio.

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