O stock of Jesse, you stand as a signal for the nations; kings fall silent before you whom the peoples acclaim. O come to deliver us, and do not delay.
Eileen could remember the fury of Christmases past. Up until a few years ago she had drilled house and family like an army - getting everything ready for the big day. It was Angela her youngest who said to her, “Mum, why do you always get so angry at Christmas?” At the time Eileen had no answer, just a pang of shame. Thinking of it these few years on she can smile about it.
Christmases are different now. No card flurries, no shopping marathons, no more lay-bys from one end of town to the other, no maxed-out credit card, and this year just a few small presents thoughtfully chosen.
Eileen, her husband Brian, and the children have made the move from presents to presence. They stay around for each other now, and they enjoy each other even if their Christmas lights aren’t the brightest on their street. Each of them has chosen three people to visit over Christmas. And they know their Christmas dinner will be in the evening this year because Brian and his eldest son have volunteered to serve Christmas lunch at a nearby shelter.
It is to heaven that we look expectantly for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ to save us; he will form this humbled body of ours anew, moulding it into the image of his glorified body, so effective is his power to make all things obey him.- Philippians 3:20b-21
Deepen our faith, Lord God, as we celebrate the great mystery of your Son taking on our humanity through the Virgin Mary and revealing to the world the splendour of your glory. Mould us into his likeness so that we may welcome him when he comes again. Amen
While you gaze thro’ the bright summer moonlight,- From the Australian “Country Carol” by John Wheeler
All the pastures will glimmer like gold,
And you’ll wait by the wide open window
Just to see if such wonders unfold.
Just to see if your oxen are kneeling
When the Christmas bells all begin pealing.
* The seven ‘O Antiphons’ (they each begin with ‘O’) are age-old songs that are part of the Catholic Church’s liturgy of Evening Prayer. Each evening, for Advent’s last eight days leading up to Christmas, one of the antiphons is sung. Each antiphon addresses Jesus with a unique title taken from Prophet Isaiah.