Reveal among us the light of your presence, that we may behold your power and glory.
William Blake The Angel Appearing to Zacharias (1799–1800). Metropolitan Musuem of Art, New York.
Antiphon O Radix Jesse
O Root of Jesse, standing as a sign among the peoples
before you kings will shute their mouths
to you the nations will make their prayer:
Come and deliver us, and delay no longer.
(cf. Isaiah 11.10, 45.14, 52.15; Romans 15.12)
A poem and prayer: Homelessness at Christmas time
by Janice Clark
your protection for us
is made known
in images of rock and mountain,
wings and arms,
tent and fold.
A protection that makes us
feel safe, secure, and confident -
with knowledge and assurance that removes
our vulnerability, and our loneliness,
our fears and our doubts.
You have promised to be a constant presence,
light, warmth and comfort,
never failing, always near.
And yet, within your world
thousands of people lack shelter
and cannot really call where they live
Their lives are impoverished,
living in a space put together
from whatever scraps they can gather.
The rain leaks through,
the heat of the sun is brutal,
the dust irritates
and water and airborne diseases flourish.
Yet for many this is their home
where new life is conceived,
where love is shown,
where characters are formed,
where faith is passed on
and where an understanding of your protection
God, fully human, yet fully divine,
you know what it is like
to be have no real home -
born into a stable,
no vacancies in the places of hospitality,
forced to flee as a refugee
with life threatening attempts on your life.
In the seasons of Advent and Christmas
your frailty is remembered,
your vulnerability acknowledged,
your purpose for the world revered.
Come again, to give protection and shelter.
Come again to strengthen the weak
and to subdue the proud.
Come to our own vulnerability
and enable all to offer
hope to a world in need.
God rest ye merry, Gentlemen. Pentatonix
Hieronymous Praetorius. Angelus Ad Pastores Ait. VOCES8, Kirche St Quirinus, in Tegernsee, Germany.
May the Lord, when he comes, find us watching and waiting. Amen.