Archive | December 1st, 2010

December 1st – God in the Outhouse



As we enter once again the Advent Season, we begin at the beginning, yet again. It is the beginning of the church year.
This season of Advent anticipates the coming of Jesus and his coming again. Yet, for millions, Advent is merely the run up to Christmas festivities: you know, “There are only 17 more shopping days to Christmas”.
Advent is so much more. It is a journey of faith, a stern journey, following the quest of the Magi. It is a journey towards a goal we never reach on earth. Bethlehem now is a third world town, drenched in poverty. Nazareth remains a scruffy town. Christmas Day comes and goes, and changes nothing. It has become something we need to recover from, and not a new vision for living.
Advent in fact is not a journey to a place, but to a person. It is to a presence when, for the first time, we can be truly at home. The call to travel is to a mystery of a supernatural being who comes to us. He is the one who travels, not we. The poetry of Advent carries with it warnings of our journey towards God, where the angels sing and the glory is revealed, but yet earthbound, we never fully arrive. As C.S. Lewis observes:
“Like the ox, I’m slow … like the ass I stubborn stand … like a lost sheep.”
T.S. Elliot’s words on the journey of the Magi says:
“A cold coming we had of it … no longer at ease here … with alien people clutching their gods … I should be glad of another death.”
Once we have been drawn to the journey we cannot ever be content with a world without Jesus in it. Here is another snatch of poetry:
“We entertain him always like a stranger and, as at first, still lodge him in a manger.”
Any religion which keeps God in the outhouse is sinfully house proud! Advent is not a trip to see Father Christmas, nor to a boozy party under a Christmas tree, it is a journey to a person, a pilgrimage, in the belief that journey’s end in lovers’ meeting. Matthew Ch. 2 v.9-11 says:
After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshipped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh.
A Prayer:
Enable me, Lord, this day to find you in unexpected places amongst all too human people, and to recognise you when I see you.

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Thought 4 The Day

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