Celebrate: Advent Word 23 (but it’s Christmas!)

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Believe: Advent Word 22

December 24, 2017
This morning, we awoke on the last Sunday of Advent. We opened the final window of the Advent calendar, lighted the fourth candle of the Advent wreath, and sang for the last time during this liturgical cycle, “Come, thou long-expected Jesus.” In place of a Psalm, we read Canticle 15, The Magnificat. The Gospel reading, Luke 1:26-38, told of the Annunciation–Gabriel’s visit to Mary to tell her that she would give birth to the Son of God. And the powerful sermon by the Rev. Jim Melnyk began with a meditation on that miraculous encounter, when like Mary, the angel Gabriel trembled as he awaited the “thoughtful yes of a young girl.” The priest invited us to be similarly open to the coming of the Lord into our own lives and encouraged us to breathe our own thoughtful and longing yes on this last day of Advent anticipation. And then we sang, “O come, O come, Emmanuel,” that haunting Advent hymn that ends with the glorious promise, “Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.” Continue reading

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Child: Advent Word 21

For me, today’s word–child–symbolizes in ways poignant or tragic, depending on my mood, all the things I don’t have. Turning 28 was more traumatic to me than 50 or even 60 because at that time, 28 was the upper age limit for acceptance into medical school, and I was working at Kmart with no hopes of achieving my lifelong dream; 28 was also the age at which my mother gave birth to me, her first child, and I had married a man with a vasectomy, relinquishing all hope of achieving the more precious goal of motherhood. Continue reading

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Greeting: Advent Word 20

Four times in his letters, Paul counsels the early Christians to “greet one another with a holy kiss” (Romans 16:16, 1 Corinthians 16:20, 2 Corinthians 13:12, and 1 Thessalonians 5:26). Likewise, Peter urges, “Greet one another with a kiss of love” (1 Peter 5:14). This ancient form of Christian greeting has been formalized as part of the eucharistic liturgy since at least the 2nd century, and in our current practice, it occurs at the end of the liturgy of the word as a gesture of reconciliation when the celebrant intones, “May the peace of the Lord be always with you,” and we respond, “And also with you.” Continue reading

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Renew: Advent Word 19

The new moon, as its name suggests, renews itself; how marvelous it is in this change, a beacon to the hosts on high, shining in the vault of the heavens! (Sirach 43:8)

From the Apocrypha comes this apt metaphor to represent the renewal we seek during this Advent season of contemplation and preparation. To astronomers, the new moon by definition cannot be seen from Earth; the moon is in conjunction with the sun, its dark side facing the earth. Thus, the photograph I attached does not, in fact, depict the new moon, but only the barest sliver of light as the moon’s face emerges from the darkness of the new moon and begins its monthly journey around the Earth. Continue reading

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Embrace: Advent Word 18

I love a Gershwin tune, and I must confess that I seldom use the word embrace unless I’m belting out, “Embrace me, my sweet embraceable you.” Hug, hold, cuddle–almost never embrace. So today my task is to write about a word that is scarcely in my vocabulary. However, this unexpected meditation has proved serendipitous and forced me to realize that like the Advent word of the day, the very things I need to embrace are the new and uncomfortable ones. I suspect there are many others who could benefit from my ruminations. Continue reading

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Open: Advent Word 17

Today’s word offers an immediate and poignant reminder of the years of my childhood spent nurturing my faith at the First Church of Christ in Globe, Arizona. Continue reading

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Dazzle: Advent Word 16

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Light: Advent Word 15

Let light perpetual shine upon us.

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Among: Advent Word 14

Among all the Advent words for this year, only today’s is a preposition. The remainder of the list comprises seven nouns and fourteen verbs (including, of course, some crossovers). These are the  draft horses of the language–the persons, places and things and the actions they perform. They are easy to write about because we can combine them into simple sentences–Awaken, messenger!–and then modify them with adjectives and adverbs–Awaken now, bold messenger. Continue reading

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