Advent Reflections Session 4

     

 

Session 4. Contemplation.

 

 

 

The Nativity.

I don’t know about you but one of my favourite childhood games was ‘Hide and Seek!’ The person who was ‘it’ would count to a predetermined time and then shout ‘Coming Ready Or Not.’ I remember the contrast of the sheer delight of having found somewhere to hide in time, and the utter panic as you here the words ‘Coming Ready or Not’ when you’re clearly not. Pregnancy is a bit like that; we have an estimated time of waiting but try telling that to the baby!! The baby will come when it’s ready, whether ready or not.

14) Luke 2: 1-7.

In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All went to their own towns to be registered. Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.      

What timing!! Having to travel and register, for Mary and Joseph it couldn’t have been worse timing. What must Mary have felt like? What we know is that her child, our Saviour came into the darkness of this world hidden away in a manger.

Yet despite been hidden away, His light cannot be concealed for already others are seeking Him.

15) Isaiah 9:2a.

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness – on them light has shined.

       

And Matthew quotes Isaiah-

16) Matthew 4: 16.

‘the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and for those who sat in the region and the shadow of death light has dawned. 

What must Mary have thought? Did she question God as to why now and why here? Was Mary given holy inspiration to see the significance of the Christ child, born in the chaos and mess of the stable echoing the reality of the chaos and mess of human life whom he had come to redeem?

What was she to think as shepherds left their flocks to find the child and hear them recount the story and reason for their arrival?

17) Luke 2: 10-12.

‘the angel said to them….to you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is the Messiah, the Lord’.

Mary knew the child was special but compared to the light of God our eyes see dimly. Even for Mary things are veiled, for we are told

18) Luke 2:19.

“Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart.”

It’s a fact that when confronted by a great light a revelatory light we can become dazzled and seek the shade. Just as sometimes it can be more comfortable not to know what lies ahead in case as Simeon foretold Mary

19) Luke 2:34-35.

“This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that we will be opposed so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed – and a sword will pierce your own soul too.”

As each Christmas we come to kneel before the Christ Child in a manger, Mary kneels with us. Kneeling ready or not, Mary points us away from ourselves to the Word that became flesh, to God the Son who dwelt among us.

20) John 1:10-12.

He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him…………But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave the power to become children of God.

Time of quiet.

 

Let us pray.

When things don’t go according to our plans, help us to contemplate why and to search out your wisdom.

Lord in your mercy…………………………………Hear our prayer.

Help us when we don’t understand, to contemplate the unexpected and the unknown by trusting in the veil of faith.

Lord in your mercy…………………………………Hear our prayer.

Help us this Christmas to give fresh birth to Christ in our earthly pilgrimage, and to welcome him into our lives like Mary, with faith and love.

Lord in your mercy……………………………….Hear our prayer.

May our lives of Christian service always point to the Lord so we may join with Mary and say

“My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour.”

Amen.

May God bless you all with the love of family, friends and of our Saviour Jesus Christ. I pray you all have a happy and peace filled Christmas.

Revd Debbie

 

Bibliography

  1. Holy Bible, New Revised Standard Version & Apocrypha. Pub Cambridge University Press.
  1. Seasons of Grace Reflections on the Orthodox Church Year by Donna Farley. Pub. Conciliar Press.
  1. http://orthodoxwiki.org/Nativity_of_the_Theotokos
  1. The Mystery of the Incarnation by Cardinal Basil Hume OSB. Pub DLT.
  1. Christ in His Saints by P.H. Reardon. Pub by Conciliar Press.
  1. Reflections on Mary by Benedict XVI. Pub by CTS.
  1. Lost Scriptures by B.D. Ehrman. Pub by Oxford University Press.
  1. Beginnings and Endings [and what happens in between] by Maggi Dawn. Pub  by The Bible Reading Fellowship.

Advent Reflection 2020.                Mary.                      Reference Sheet.

Session 1. Preparation -The Nativity of the Theotokos.

Session 4. Contemplation – The Nativity.

  1. Luke 2:1-7.
  2. Isaiah 9:2a.
  3. Matthew 4:16.
  4. Luke 2: 10-12.
  5. Luke 2:19.
  6. Luke 2:34-35.
  7. John1:10-12.