Day Five — Tuesday 29 December 2020

Thomas Beckett, Archbishop of Canterbury and martyr (d.1170).

The Word was made flesh and dwelt amongst us. O come, let us worship. Alleluia


Thomas Becket 1120-1170 was Archbishop of Canterbury from 1162 until his murder in 1170. Here, Becket's assassination and funeral are depicted on a enamelled reliquary made by Master Alpais in Limoges c.1190. Musée de Cluny, Paris.


1 John 2.3-11 | Psalm 96.1-6 | Luke 2.22-35


The point of telling infancy stories about the one who was to die bravely and mightily rise is to remind us that we are invited to a relationship with the divine that is never built on force. It is built on vulnerability, intimacy, and complete trust.

This is not to reduce the Christian religion to a club for innocuous ne'er-do-wells whose integrity is fulfilled only when they fail or someone uses them for a doormat. Intimacy, trust, and vulnerability take lots of work. Christians must engage what is amiss in our culture, and do so nonviolently. Vulnerability requires courage. The starving and undereducated children of the world need our constant care.

The news at Christmas is that in vulnerability there can be community. In trust can be found the power of God. In simple honesty with ourselves about ourselves, grace can flourish. In swallowing pride and accepting forgiveness from God or one another, a new creation can take place. What God wants from us before all else is love. The rest will follow.
—Paul V. Marshall, "Behind the Tinsel (Christmas)" in Messages in the Mall (New York: Church Publishing, 2008).


Almighty God and Father of light,
a child is born to us and a Son is given to us. Your eternal Word leapt down from heaven in the silent watches of the night, and now your Church is filled with wonder at the nearness of God. Open our hearts to receive his life and increase our vision with the rising of dawn, that our lives may be filled with his glory and his peace, who lives and reigns for ever and ever.
—International Committee on English in the Liturgy

Tomas Luis de Victoria (1548-1611). Quem vidistis pastores. Continuum, dir. Adrian Peacock.

Quem vidistis, pastores, dicite,
annuntiate nobis, in terris quis apparuit?
Natum vidimus et choros angelorum
collaudantes Dominum, Alleluia.
Whom did you see, shepherds, say,
tell us: who has appeared on earth?
the new-born we saw and choirs of angels
praising the Lord, alleluia!

May the Lord, who has called out of darkness into his marvellous light, bless us and fill us with peace. Amen.

St Philip's Anglican Church,
cnr Moorhouse and Macpherson Streets, O'Connor, ACT 2602.