Tuesday 20 December

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

O Clavis David

O Key of David and sceptre of the House of Israel;
you open and no one can shut;
you shut and no one can open:
Come and lead the prisoners from the prison house,
those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death.
(cf Isaiah 22.22, 42.7)

Readings (Click the links to see the readings)

Isaiah 7.10-14 | Psalm 24.1-6 | Luke 1.28-38 |

Christmas Song
Gene Fendt

Tell me now, you angels of the Lord,
how heaven's gates were opened by God's love,
despite the barricade where we piled each great
and meanest thing, and leaned on them, and leaned
our weight against each other, our weight,
and all the earth we said we loved, not knowing love,
because one woman's heart allowed
her own humiliation, and the bastard
son of God her womb. Tell me how many
millions perished, waiting how many thousand years,
for one slim girl's abject acceptance,
which none of us can fathom still. Tell me
how love lives, though all our hearts despise it,
and divinity is houseled in an animal's stall.

Anglican Theological Review, 75.4 Fall 1993, p 534.


Father God, prepare our hearts not only for the celebration to come, but also for sharing that Good News with friends, family and work colleagues should opportunity arise. Grant us courage and a real willingness to talk about the love that came down to earth and walked among us. Amen

Reg Mombassa. Nativity: Birth of An Australian Jesus.


R. Anthony Lee. O Clavis David Ars Nova Singers


'Fear not', says the angel to Joseph, to Mary, to the shepherds. It is recurring motif in the Christmas stories, and a significant reminder that the overwhelming news of God the Saviour's coming is both all that the human heart could hope for and also something that powerfully disrupts the way the world goes and the way our lives go. There is something to be afraid of in the renewal of a world: I may not welcome being reconstructed or interrupted.

Religious commitment of any depth is bound to say to the world around it that the assumptions and habits of that world are not beyond question. … For all our talk about pluralism, many still feel in all kinds of ways uncomfortable when religion makes a visible difference in public life—so that in turn religious people may feel excluded or threatened if they are visibly identified as members of a community of faith. Discomfort about religion or about a particular religion may be the response of an educated liberal or, at the opposite extreme, the unthinking violence of an anti-Semite; it isn't easy to face the fact that sometimes the effects are similar for the believer. …

The fear of faith itself is part of what can breed fear in a vulnerable or minority community, of whatever tradition. And before we rise up and angrily deplore this, it's worth pausing to ask just why faith provokes such a passionate protectiveness.
—Rowan Williams, Christmas Sermon, 2003.

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

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