Here’s a responsive prayer from Annabel Shilson-Thomas.Waiting for the Kingdom(inspired by Isaiah 61:1, Luke 4:18, Luke 1:47-55)Lord, we wait with eager expectation for the coming of Your kingdomwhen the humble will be exalted and the hungry fed.Your kingdom come, Your will be done.Lord, we prepare for Your advent with searching minds and contrite hearts,trusting in Your healing spirit and redemptive love.Your kingdom come, Your will be done.Lord, we watch with those who wait and weep,longing to see the rule of justice and the reign of peace.Your kingdom come, Your will be done.Lord, we seek You among the despised and rejected,knowing that there we will find Your light shining in the dark.Your kingdom come, Your will be done.Lord, we proclaim sight to the blind and liberty to the oppressed,trusting in Your tender mercy and passion for justice.Your kingdom come, Your will be done.Lord, we work with others to proclaim Your truth,challenging the mighty and raising the meek.Your kingdom come, Your will be done.Lord, we wrestle with our hopes and our fears, our struggles and our joyslaboring with creation to come to new birth.Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.~ Annabel Shilson-Thomas. Posted on the Christian Brothers of the Midwest website. http://www.cbmidwest.org/
Reflecting on 1 Corinthians 15:51-52
Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed—in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.
Emily Gibson writes this at Barnstorming:
It will be a joyous day of which we only dream in our current slumber. We will be changed, awakened from our stillness and sleep– not a mere disguising cover of snow, but forever cleansed and purified.
Here are 9 more songs for your Advent listening pleasure. This includes some CCM old favorites (Amy Grant, Michael Card, Twila Paris) and some brand new releases too.
By the way, the final song in the listing “Joy to the World” is a different tune / arrangement than the traditional Christmas Carol and the change really turns this into an Advent carol. Give it a listen!
Look for another batch of Advent songs next week. Full track details (artists, albums, purchase links) follow below the playlist.
For more Advent music:
|Come Emmanuel||Twila Paris||House Of Worship||2003||iTunes (US)|
|Come Thou Long Expected Jesus||Chris Tomlin (Christy Nockels)||Glory In The Highest: Christmas Songs Of Worship||2009||iTunes (US)|
|Come, Oh Redeemer, Come||Fernando Ortega||Give Me Jesus – EP||1999||iTunes (US)|
|Emmanuel, God With Us||Amy Grant||Home For Christmas||1992||iTunes (US)|
|Fullness of Grace||Joanne Hogg, Kristyn Getty & Margaret Becker||New Irish Hymns 3 – Incarnation||2004||iTunes (US)|
|Great Hope||Sara Taylor||Light Is Here: Songs for Advent – EP||2013||iTunes (US)|
|Immanuel||Michael Card||The Life||1987||iTunes (US)|
|Joy to the World||Sojourn||Advent Songs||2007||iTunes (US)|
|Prepare Him Room||Paul Baloche||Christmas Worship||2013||iTunes (US)|
Note: I had trouble uploading Michael Card’s Immanuel tonight. I kept getting an error. I’ll work on fixing the playlist in the morning. In the meantime, you can listen to Immanuel online at YouTube here.
Emily GIbson’s Advent Canticles series this year at her blog Barnstorming is something I’m enjoying tremendously and recommend highly. Each day she is posting one or two entries with links to several versions (ancient and modern) of Advent or Christmas carols – some well known, others less familiar, with the lyrics, and wonderful, brief, accompanying reflections. A wonderful way to treat yourself to 5 or 10 minutes of quiet Advent worship this season.
Because I’m enjoying this series so much (it’s great getting to listen to new versions of some well-loved carols, and to discover other carols for the first time), I’m wanting to post an index here of links to all her entries. I’ll update this every few days throughout Advent.
For each entry, I’m listing the title of her blog entry followed by the name of the carol in parentheses.
- Born For a Reason (Koppången – a Swedish Carol)
- Why We Love Him So (Jesus Christ the Son was Born – Gospel Carol)
- What Our Good God for Us Has Done (Wexford Carol)
- Go Where I Send Thee (Children, Go Where I Send Thee – Gospel song)
- Boundless Grace of Face (Christ Child Lullaby – Gaelic)
- Dewdrops Are Shining (Star in the East / Brightest and Best)
- “Ponder Nothing Earthly Minded” (Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence)
- “Let Us Be Transformed” (There is No Rose)
- “Turn Our Darkness into Light” (O Come, O Come Emmanuel)
- “Let No Tongue on Earth Be Silent” (Of the Father’s Love Begotten)
Must reading at Patrick Comerford’s blog: A Song for Simeon instead of Nunc Dimittis at Evening Prayer
It’s a wonderful and informative reflection on both Simeon’s song (Luke 2:29-32) and T.S. Eliot’s poem “A Song for Simeon.” Here’s an excerpt:
In this poem, Eliot confines his comments on things of the past to four lines in the second stanza. In contrast to Journey of the Magi, which concentrates more on a physical journey, Eliot here places his emphasis on the time that has been spent making an inner journey of faith:
I have walked many years in this city,
Kept faith and fast, provided for the poor,
Have given and taken honour and ease.
We are aware too, that Simeon is very old. He is hanging on, waiting for God’s promise, so that he can die:
My life is light, waiting for the death wind,
Like a feather on the back of my hand.
Just as Eliot had his inner searches and wanderings, in which he moved about from one place to another. The difficulties with his wife Vivien’s illness contributed to a separation and the complete breakdown of their marriage, adding to Eliot’s sense of disillusion with life. In both these poems, Eliot focuses on an event that brings about the end of an old order and the beginning of a new one.
Eliot structures A Song for Simeon around lines from the prayer spoken by the priest Simeon as recorded in Luke 2: 29-32:
Master, now you are dismissing
Your servant in peace,
according to your word;
for my eyes have seen your salvation …
Simeon too was a witness. Although he was not present at Christ’s birth, he witnessed the presentation of the Christ-child when he was brought by his parents to the Temple as an eight-day-old. Yet Simeon did more than just witness the child, “Simeon took him in his arms” (Luke 2: 28) as he prayed. In his blind faith, he comes to hold the Body of Christ, and to see the child for who he really is. As Joseph and Nicodemus do when they take him down from the Cross, and as we do at the Eucharist, he becomes a bearer of Christ as he holds the Body of Christ in his hands and so becomes too part of the Body of Christ at one and the same time.
Three times in the poem, Simeon asks for peace. Is he referring to the peace that will come with his own death? Or the peace of Christ that passes all understanding?
As Christians, we do not believe that death is the end of our journey. Even before death, Eliot marks his baptism and confirmation as, if not the end of, then a triumph on, his spiritual journey. He has come to a place of faith, and now he is encouraged to continue on his spiritual journey.
The poem can be read as a song for Simeon to sing, or as a song to be sung for Simeon. We can imagine ourselves listening to Simeon’s prophetic voice, or imagine the voice of a poet singing on Simeon’s behalf or in his honour at a later age, from a viewpoint and with insights denied to Simeon himself.
Let Him come unto me, His poor servant,
and make Him joyful.
Come, O Come!
For without You there can be no blissful day or hour,
for You are my joy, and without You my table is empty.
Let others seek what they please instead of You,
but as for me, nothing else does nor shall delight me,
but You only, my God, my hope, my eternal salvation.
- Thomas a Kempis
H/T Trevin Wax (Trevin Wax is a wonderful and highly recommended blogger. It was his prayer category that first got me reading his blog a few years ago. I quickly became a fan and now read Kingdom People almost every day.)
Artwork: From Pilgrim’s Progress. “Christian Before the Cross”
Psalms: 25, 9, 15; Old Testament: Amos 7:1-9; New Testament: Rev. 1:1-8; Gospel: Matt. 22:23-33
[Apologies that I've not posted these "Advent Vespers" entries each day. Some days in the past week my reflections on the day's readings were so focused on personal situations as to not be suitable for blogging.]
This is the first year in several where I’ve been following the Anglican Daily Lectionary readings during Advent. In other recent years I had reasons why I chose to continue with a different Bible study focus instead of following the liturgical calendar. As a result, it’s been some years, perhaps 4, since I last read through Amos in its entirety. Maybe for that reason, I’ve found each day’s passages from Amos to be deeply striking and hitting me afresh, as if I were reading these passages for the first time. Or perhaps it’s just that the Holy Spirit is really wanting to grab my attention in this book. He’s certainly succeeding in doing just that!
I think what’s impressed me most strongly so far, as I’ve alluded to in several of these previous “Advent Vespers” entries, is the “lostness of the lost,” if I can put it that way – the reminder that for those without Christ, the Day of the Lord is a terrible and terrifying prospect, a Day that will bring gloom and destruction, not joy. After nearly 4o years as a confessing Christian, it’s sometimes hard to remember what it means to not know Christ, to not have the hope of salvation. That’s quite a shocking admission given that I am living and ministering in a country that is 99% non-Christian and where millions have never had the chance to even hear the truth of Jesus. I *should* be deeply aware of the “lostness of the lost” and the terrible prospect of judgment that awaits them, it’s what motivated me to come to this country. Nonetheless, the Lord has been convicting me the past few days of how I’ve hardened my heart to the desperate plight and peril of my friends, neighbors and colleagues, and lost that sense of urgency at the need.
Amos had no such hard heart. Even though he was called upon by the Lord to speak forth terrible proclamations of the Lord’s judgment, he did not take glee in the downfall and destruction of those against whom the Lord’s anger burned. Instead, we read twice today of his intercession before the Lord on behalf of those on whom the Lord was declaring judgment:
This is what the Lord God showed me: behold, the Lord God was calling for a judgment by fire, and it devoured the great deep and was eating up the land. 5 Then I said, “O Lord God, please cease! How can Jacob stand? He is so small!” 6 The Lord relented concerning this: “This also shall not be,” said the Lord God. (Amos 7:4-6, ESV)
Amos followed the example of Abraham (Gen 18:22-32) and Moses (Exodus 32:12-14), among others, in pleading with God to relent from His judgment. Moses, in fact, was willing that he should perish (have God blot his name out of His book) if it would satisfy God’s wrath and allow Him to forgive His people for their idolatry in worshiping the golden calf. (Exodus 32:32).
The reading in Revelation 1 reminds us today that we don’t have to pay such a price or offer God our lives or our own salvation in exchange for the forgiveness of sins. Jesus has already given His life:
To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood 6 and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. 7 Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him.
There IS freedom from and forgiveness for our sins through the blood of Christ. The price has been paid!
This Advent, as we reflect on and rejoice in the hope of Christ’s coming again in glory, may we be stirred up to remember the need of all those without Christ, to intercede boldly with God on their behalf, as Amos interceded for the people of Israel in his day. May we take to heart the words and the promises of many of the verses in today’s readings from the Psalms:
Good and upright is the Lord; therefore he instructs sinners in the way. He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way. (Psalm 25:8-9, ESV)
Who is the man who fears the Lord? Him will he instruct in the way that he should choose. His soul shall abide in well-being, and his offspring shall inherit the land. The friendship of the Lord is for those who fear him, and he makes known to them his covenant. My eyes are ever toward the Lord, for he will pluck my feet out of the net. (Psalm 25:12-15, ESV)
And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you. (Psalm 9:10, ESV)
God teaches, leads and instructs the humble. He rescues those who seek Him and put their trust in Him.
- Pray for humility in our own hearts and lives today, a teachable spirit, a delight in being led by the Lord.
- Cry out to God for those you love who do not now hope in Christ, that they might humble themselves and seek Him that they might be saved.
- Rejoice that you know Christ and trust in His name and have been freed from your sins, and can look forward in hope to the Day of His return!
This is not a very obviously “adventy” song, perhaps, but it is a wonderful worship song that I’ve been playing a lot the past few days in such deep thankfulness that there are those who shared the Name of Christ with me, and told me of His grace, inviting me to follow Him. Hallelujah, He has lifted my darkness and freed me from slavery to sin!
Graham Kendrick & Darlene Zschech: “That Name” (from the 2013 album Worship Duets)
If it was not for that Name
If it was not for the Name I love
If no one had told me
If no one had had showed me
About the Name
If it was not for this love
If it was not for the love of God
If he had not loved me
Long before I knew Him
If not for love
Jesus, Name I call on
Rock I stand on
Jesus, God and Saviour
In my joy and sorrow
Name above all Names
If it was not for the cross
If it was not for the rugged cross
Who would pay so dearly
To forgive so freely
At the cross
Who would light my darkness
Who would lift my sadness
Who would pay so dearly
Who would reach to save me
While my sin enslaved me
Trade His own blood for me
Jesus, Rock that breaks me
Jesus, heals, remakes me
Jesus, friend and brother
Jesus never fails me
Never will forsake me
Out of death has raised me
If it was not for this grace
If it was not for the grace of God
Who would bear my sorrow
Give me back tomorrow
If it was not for that Name
Graham Kendrick & Darlene Zschech
© 2013 Thankyou Music
I saw a lovely and quite profound comment posted in response to an Advent article at Christianity Today yesterday:
Any reaction other than “Come Lord Jesus…” would be grasping at Christmas gifts and not The Gift. When I am tempted: “Come Lord Jesus!” When I am joyful: “Come Lord Jesus” When I am hurting and afraid: “Come Lord Jesus!” At all times – may my conscious and quiet inner desire be “Come Lord Jesus!”
So true….! Amen.
Bishop Steve Breedlove has written an encouraging reflection on Advent, and why it is so important to learn the spiritual discipline of waiting.
Here are some excerpts:
The wisdom of the Church says that waiting-for-what-we-do-not-yet-have is good medicine for the soul. “Little Lent”, as Advent is often called, sets the foundation for another year of deepening faith and spiritual health. How? What can a wait-without-having do for our souls?
Advent teaches us to nurture our longing for Jesus. Reading and praying about his return is meant to heighten our desire for his return, our preparedness for his return, and our longing for his presence now. Advent can, and should, teach us to live happily without instant gratification of our desires. It can, and should, school us to live on less. (The ancient fathers did not set aside Advent in response to American style excesses, but in God’s providence, what they did offers us a great alternative!) Advent can, and should, call us to generosity – if we don’t spend as much on ourselves we can spend more on others, especially those who cannot repay us.
Advent teaches us solidarity with our Jewish history: it reminds us of our spiritual roots. Like all forms of Sabbath (“suffering lack” and “resting from labor”), Advent reminds us of our limitations and calls us to depend on God’s grace. Like Israelites freed from slavery to the cultural machine, Advent teaches us that we do not need the hype, the possessions, and the latest techno-gadgets to be fulfilled. Really. (I mean, really.)
Many lessons can be gleaned from Advent, but one more lesson is particularly on my heart. In intentional waiting, of living-with-lack (especially in the face of cultural excesses), Advent can take us deep into the issue of persevering through incompleteness, of enduring while we wait on God to show up in our lives. I find that a particularly valuable spiritual lesson.
Contrary to our cultural practices and expectations, living a Christian life is not instant anything. It is a battle with the world, the flesh and the devil. (In my case, the world and the devil have pretty easy jobs: the flesh harries me, oh, about 24/7.) Advent underscores and enables me to practice what I know – that I do long for Jesus, that I do wait for him, that I do desperately depend on him, that he has come, is coming, will come, and does come. In the waiting, in the incompleteness, in the struggle, God teaches me about the whole Christian life and cuts against the grain of my culture’s screams for easy answers. An easy answer for the deep transformation of the soul is not the true answer. And a life without longing, and waiting, and praying, and depending, and seeking, and hungering, and remembering, and reaching out, is not a Christian life.
A Prayer in Praise of Jesus–the Lord of Advent
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this. Isa. 9:6-7
Dear Lord Jesus, meditating on this passage—crammed full with Advent hope, is like standing under a waterfall of grace. Indeed, you are the one Isaiah was writing about—alone worthy of our praise and adoration.
Knowing the government of the entire cosmos already rests on your shoulders super-sizes my peace, and fills me with a joy second only to knowing those shoulders fully bore the sin of the world, including mine.
Lord Jesus, in you are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. You are Wonderful Counselor. Everything I need to know about God and eternity is found in you; but you’re also the one who gives me counsel about life in general—loving my wife well, and handling fresh disappointments, old hurts, and unfulfilled longings. You care about everything. You are wisdom incarnate.
Lord Jesus, you uphold all things by the power of your Word. You are Mighty God—the one who created and sustains the entire universe—the one in whom all things are being summed up. You also give me power to humble myself, when I’d rather stay proud; and strength to boast in my weaknesses when I’d rather be self-sufficient. O, the power of grace.
Lord Jesus, to see you is to see the Father; and to know you is to know the Father. In this sense you are Everlasting Father. You faithfully tend to the needs of the world—even the flowers of every field and the birds in every sky. But you also care about us. Through of your finished work on the cross, I’m not only declared righteous in God’s sight; I’m free to declare God as Abba, Father. Hallelujah, many times over.
Lord Jesus, singularly, you deserve the title, Prince of Peace, for you paid the price for our peace. Forgive me when I vainly look for contentment, joy and hope anywhere else. For your broad shoulders, big heart, and coming kingdom, I praise you today, and rest in your love. So very Amen I pray, in your matchless and merciful name.
Once again, Bishop Eric Menees of the Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin has written a helpful reflection on the Collect for the Second Sunday in Advent. Here is an excerpt:
In the collect for the Second Sunday of Advent, Archbishop Cranmer provides the compass for our daily preparation to meet the Lord. “Blessed Lord, which hast caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning; grant us that we may in such wise hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them; that by patience and comfort of thy holy word, we may embrace, and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which thou hast given us in our savior Jesus Christ.”A fundamental belief of Christians world-wide is that the Lord God did cause all Holy Scripture to be written for our learning. The Scriptures are God’s self-revelation to man, providing us with an image of God and instructions on how we are to live our lives and love the Lord. St. Paul, under the inspiration of God, wrote to Timothy: “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)If we grant the primary premise that all Scripture comes from God and is intended for our learning, then the next step is all the more important – we pray that God will open our hearts and minds to have the discipline to “hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them.” In other words, that the scriptures will become not simply something we hear read in church on Sunday, but that they will become a part of our lives. It is precisely through the development of a Scriptural World that we find comfort, peace, and hope. When we learn to examine the world through the lens of scripture, we understand better why it is that things happen, and, more importantly, what our response to the world around us should be!
It is startling to read the beginning verses in today’s lectionary reading from Amos 5:
Woe to you who desire the day of the Lord!
Why would you have the day of the Lord?
It is darkness, and not light,
as if a man fled from a lion,
and a bear met him,
or went into the house and leaned his hand against the wall,
and a serpent bit him.
Is not the day of the Lord darkness, and not light,
and gloom with no brightness in it? (Amos 5:18-20, ESV)
For those of us who live in the A.D. world, Advent is about longing for Christ’s coming, eagerness for His appearing, excitement that the people walking in darkness would see a great light, that light was coming into the world and that darkness could not overcome it. So these words in Amos are almost shocking. It is hard to think from a B.C. perspective. But in the days of Amos and the other prophets (see also Joel2 and Zephaniah1), for those trapped in their sins and under judgment, deserving God’s wrath, the Day of the LORD was something to be feared, a day of darkness & suffering, and gloom.
Unless we enter into this understanding of the hopelessness and the doom awaiting, it is hard to fully rejoice in the promise of the Messiah:
Isaiah 9:1-2 But there will be no gloom for her who was in anguish. … The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone.
Isaiah 29:18-19 In that day the deaf shall hear the words of a book, and out of their gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind shall see. 19 The meek shall obtain fresh joy in the Lord, and the poor among mankind shall exult in the Holy One of Israel.
Instead of gloom, we who are in Christ can look forward to Christ’s coming with great joy. Jude 24-25 (also in today’s lectionary) is one of my favorite passages of Scripture:
Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, 25 to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.
Great joy! What an amazing promise and hope, that the Lord Jesus Himself will keep us and present us blameless before the Father. Christ came to free us from gloom and terror. He has shined His light in our darkness. I pray each of us will choose to trust in Him by faith and walk in His light so that we may rejoice on That Day.
Incline a merciful ear to our cry,
we pray, O Lord,
and casting light on the darkness of our hearts,
visit us with the grace of your Son.
Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
Advent Worship: Wells Cathedral Choir “Lead Kindly Light”
Lead, kindly Light, amid th’encircling gloom, lead Thou me on!
The night is dark, and I am far from home; lead Thou me on!
Keep Thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene; one step enough for me.
I was not ever thus, nor prayed that Thou shouldst lead me on;
I loved to choose and see my path; but now lead Thou me on!
I loved the garish day, and, spite of fears,
Pride ruled my will. Remember not past years!
So long Thy power hath blest me, sure it still will lead me on.
O’er moor and fen, o’er crag and torrent, till the night is gone,
And with the morn those angel faces smile, which I
Have loved long since, and lost awhile!
Meantime, along the narrow rugged path, Thyself hast trod,
Lead, Savior, lead me home in childlike faith, home to my God.
To rest forever after earthly strife
In the calm light of everlasting life.
I came across this word picture about Advent on one blog I stumbled across:
I know there is blog software which produces these kinds of graphics automatically based on the frequency of topics / categories / words used in any given blog.
But I wondered if this Advent word picture might inspire us each to take a few minutes of reflection if we have a few quiet moments this Saturday morning…
- What words would best describe your first week of Advent this year?
- What words would you like to be the focus of or a description of your Advent commemoration this year?
Father, we know in our heads what Advent SHOULD be about, but so often Advent is just “mere words” to us. Help us not only to be hearers, who know the right words about what Advent should be, but doers, who put Your word, Your commands to us into practice. And Father, may our Advent be most of all about obeying Your Word, what You ask of each of us personally, not trying to live up to someone else’s picture of what Advent should be or look like. You know our hearts. You fashioned them Yourself. Speak O Lord. Give us Your words for what You want to bring forth in our lives this Advent season. Amen.
Artwork credit: davemerkel.com
I love Baptists who “get” Advent. And John Piper and his colleagues at Desiring God produce some wonderful Advent resources each year. Here’s an excerpt from a great Advent Reflection: Let a Little Lent into Your Advent
As comfortable as it might be to parse out our celebrations and keep our holiday sentimentals in their own clearly labeled boxes, we cannot keep Bethlehem and Golgotha apart without losing what Christmas really is. There’s a place for focusing on the stable, the shepherds, and the wonder of the incarnation, but to appreciate the depth of what is happening here, we must keep Calvary’s hill on the horizon.
This Is No Circus Act
If we quarantine Jesus’s birth from his death and resurrection, we cut out the heart of what’s so dazzling about Christmas. This shockingly spectacular event — God becoming man, full divinity and full humanity joined in one person — doesn’t just captivate our attention, but captures us for this God-man. We are involved. It is our rescue in view. In the words of the old creed, this incarnation is “for us and for our salvation.”
Christmas is a stunning show. The almighty Ancient of Days is born a frail and fragile babe. But this is not some marvel we watch from a distance, nameless faces in a sea of disconnected spectators. We’re not mere fanatics of the hero, but known and loved by him. And his heroics are not for our entertainment, but our everlasting joy.
At Christmas, we’re not restricted to the upper deck, kept to the bleachers, tucked behind a barrier, but brought onto the field, onto the team of the superstar, given a jersey. The astonishing ontological feat he accomplishes in his incarnation is not a circus act for whomever, but an act of love for us.
Born to Bear the Cross
From the very beginning, from Bethlehem and before, Jerusalem’s tree and empty tomb linger in the distance and give meaning to every angel song and magi gift.