Saturday 17 December

Reveal among us the light of your presence, that we may behold your power and glory.

O Sapientia

O Wisdom, coming forth from the mouth of the Most High,
reaching from one end to the other mightily,
and sweetly ordering all things:
Come and teach us the way of prudence.
(cf Ecclesiasticus 24.3; Wisdom 8.1)

Readings (Click the links to see the readings)

Genesis 49.2, 8-10 | Psalm 12.1-7 | Matthew 1.1-17 |

Christmas poem
Charles Hughes

This house I have stands deep.
Dimensionless in me.
Here I can sing and weep.
Here God can come to be.

Flimsy as an old stable.
It's a porous place to dwell.
I've proved hopelessly unable
To seal it off from hell.

The Holy Innocents
Are growing every day
In number. Someone repents
And, turning, turns away.

This house I have stands deep.
Dimensionless in me.
Keep Christmas here. Child.
Keep Your weakness bright to see.

The Christian Century, 132.25, 9 Dec. 2015, p. 36


Father God, when we consider your servant Mary, what we see is a humility and obedience that is so often lacking in our own lives. As we hear your Word again, and consider the one through whose body you entered this world, remind us of the meaning of humility and grant us a confidence of faith that knows your promises to us are always fulfilled.


17 December is International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers.

Gentile da Fabriano. Detail from Adoration of the Magi, 1423.
Strozzi Chapel, Church of Sta. Triniata, Florence.

Arvo Pärt. O Sapentia. Magnificat Antiphonen: No. 1: O Weisheit.
South Dakota Chorale, cond. Brian A. Schmidt.



In 2 Timothy 4.8, the apostle speaks of the Lord's promise 'to all those who wait with love for him to appear'—or, in the older translation, 'all them also that love his appearing'. The Church is—in human terms—the assembly of those who 'love his appearing'. We are drawn together by love and gratitude for what we see in Christ's first appearing—his birth in humility, his ministry, his saving death and glorious resurrection—and by loving hope for his coming again. We look forward, praying (in the words of one of the most profound of the Christmas collects) 'that we may with sure confidence behold him when he shall come to be our judge.' … Drawn into the fellowship created by the Holy Spirit, we live not from ourselves, our feelings, thoughts or achievements, not even from the fullness of our grasp of the faith into which God has called us, but from the life poured into us by God's free grace—so that the common life of the Church becomes a sign in the world of God's life and activity, a sacrament of his love.
—Rowan Williams, Advent Pastoral Letter to Primates and Moderators of the United Churches, 27 Nov. 2004.)

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