Fourth Sunday in Advent
Prayer based on all Lections
by Rev. F. Schaefer
God of Grace and Surprise, today we embrace the announcement of the incarnation of your
only begotten Son. We stand in awe and wonder of your plan of salvation which confounds
the wisdom of this world. Thank you for fulfilling your promise given by the prophets of
old--the sign of reconciliation in and through Jesus, our Lord.
Help us to recognize the incarnation of your grace especially with those who suffer,
those who are impoverished and victimized. Enable us to stand in solidarity with the
least of our brothers and sisters in Christ, so that the world will see in us the good
news of Emmanuel, God-with-us, in whose very name we pray. Amen.
"The Pause Between Two Notes"
by Gary in New Bern
Rilke, in his Book of Hours, writes:
I am the pause between two notes that fall
into a real accordance scarce at all;
for death's note tends to dominate.
Not much of an Advent text, is it? It hardly seems to match the flavor of the
Christmas season, and hardly seems right to introduce such a sour note right before
Christmas. It seems to be the antithesis of everything that we see and hear during this
beautiful holiday season.
Yet I believe this little poem captures the spirit of the season better than all
the tinsel, colored lights and Christmas carols that lift our hearts into the magical joy
that we call "Christmas." Because, when we take away all of the gold and
glitter, the sentimental feelings that have been part of our celebrations since childhood,
and place this story in the real world, Rilke's lines seem an appropriate commentary on
The Christmas story, by worldly
standards, is really one that hardly bears mentioning. It is a story common to
its time. Because of an imperial edict, an older man and his teen-age bride are
forced to travel to their ancestral home. To complicate matters, she is pregnant
- ready to deliver her first child - a baby that is not his, and is obviously
born out of wedlock. As they arrive in town, they find that there is no place
for shelter, and she is in labor. Finally, after much searching around, they
find a cave where animals are being sheltered and, there, amid sweaty animals
and flies, in the dirty, itching hay, she gives birth to a child - her first ...
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