Monday, December 22, 2014

December 22 - Advent Devotional 2014

Monday, 22 December 2014

Sing Out My Soul

Sing out my soul,
sing of the holiness of God;
who has delighted in a woman,
lifted up the poor,
satisfied the hungry,
given voice to the silent,
grounded the oppressor,
blessed the full bellied with emptiness,
and with the gift of tears those who have never wept;
who has desired the darkness of the womb,
and inhabited our flesh.
Sing of the longing of God,
sing out, my soul.

Source: Adaptation of Luke 1:39-53, by Janet Morley
Photo: Annunciation Glass, Mary via Flickr

View all Advent Devotional 2014 posts here.

© 2014, copyright Thomas MacEntee

Sunday, December 21, 2014

December 21 - Advent Devotional 2014

Sunday, 21 December 2014 - Fourth Sunday of Advent

A Prayer For The Children

We pray for the children
who sneak popsicles before supper,
who erase holes in math workbooks,
who can never find their shoes.And we pray for those
who stare at photographers from behind barbed wire,
who can't bound down the street in a new pair of sneakers,
who never "counted potatoes,"
who are born in places where we wouldn't be caught dead,
who never go to the circus,
who live in an X-rated world.

We pray for the children
who bring us sticky kisses and fistfuls of dandelions,
who hug us in a hurry and forget their lunch money.
And we pray for those
who never get dessert,
who have no safe blanket to drag behind them,
who watch their parents watch them die,
who can't find bread to steal,
who don't have rooms to clean up,
whose pictures aren't on anybody's dresser,
whose monsters are real.

We pray for the children
who spend their allowance before Tuesday,
who throw tantrums in the grocery store and pick at their food,
who like ghost stories,
who shove dirty clothes under the bed,
who never rinse out the tub,
who get visits from the tooth fairy,
who don't like to be kissed in front of the carpool,
who squirm in church and scream in the phone,
whose tears we sometimes laugh at and
whose smiles can make us cry.

And we pray for those
Whose nightmares come in the daytime,
Who will eat anything
Who have never seen dentist, Who aren't spoiled by anybody,
Who go to bed hungry and cry themselves to sleep,
Who live and move, but have no being

We pray for the children
Who want to be carried and for those who must,
Who we never give up on and for those
who don't get a second chance.
We pray for those we smother and for those
who will grab the hand of anybody kind enough to offer it.

Source: Marian Wright Edelman
Photo: Microsoft Clip Art

View all Advent Devotional 2014 posts here.

© 2014, copyright Thomas MacEntee

Saturday, December 20, 2014

December 20 - Advent Devotional 2014

Saturday, 20 December 2014

The story of Jesus' birth recalls how the angel Gabriel appeared before a young woman in Nazareth. Scripture describes their encounter including Mary's confusion, fear and the words of Gabriel: Do not be afraid. It also tells of Mary's acceptance: Let it be as you have said. Let it be. We think of Mary when we think of the Annunciation. But, as the Gospel according to Matthew tells us, Joseph also played a part here.

Since the Reformation, emphasis has been on Joseph not as father of Jesus, but as the husband of Mary to make things look proper. Actually, Joseph finds himself caught up in a cosmic drama of redemption without ever being asked. He is simply told that the woman to whom he is engaged was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit not by him.

So Joseph was placed by God, no less in the predicament of marrying a woman who would be seen as unfaithful, or of ending the relationship with her and there by preserving the community standards. He could expose the one he loved to public disgrace possibly even death or he could take Mary as his wife and share the shame living day after day as a member of the community that regarded his wife as a tainted woman. What was he to do?

There is no hint of anything except an overwhelming concern for Mary's public reputation - there is not angry outburst, no violence to Mary, no consultation with experts int he law. Matthew simply says that Joseph was a righteous man, and for that reason he planned to dismiss her quietly salvaging, in effect, her reputation and his.

But something happened, didn't it? And it is in this action that Joseph becomes more than the husband of Mary. He becomes the father of Jesus. The sacrifice and faithfulness of both Mary and Joseph were essential for the birth of Jesus. Joseph affirms the worthiness of Mary unconditionally. In the midst of things he cannot comprehend, disturbing things, mysterious things, he affirms Mary anyway. And, in doing so, he affirms the child Jesus that is within her. He awakes from sleep, and acts on the message that he hears from the angel of the Lord. He takes Mary as his wife, and he welcomes Jesus into his life.

Joseph made a decision to let Jesus be born into his life when he took Mary as his wife. We find ourselves in the same place: we must make a decision to allow Jesus to be born into our lives or not. Like Joseph, we must be present. We must trust. We must decide, through the prompting of the Spirit, to step out in faith for Jesus' sake. When all the evidence to the contrary says that we should play it safe to follow the conventional wisdom of dismissing quietly the direction of the Lord, we must follow Joseph's way of being faithful in spite of. We must be true to our conviction.

Even when we are sure, a voice from within, or a voice from without, whispers. Maybe I am wrong . . . the dream is only a dream, not reality . . . don't be a fool . . . look out for yourself. In these situations of conviction surrounded by doubt, when things outwardly at least seem out of control, the words of the angel to Joseph take on their highest significance: Do not let fear overwhelm faith, he was told. Do not let fear overwhelm faith, we are told.

Source:  Daniel Rondeau
Photo:  St. Joseph with the Infant Jesus, Guido Reni

View all Advent Devotional 2014 posts here.

© 2014, copyright Thomas MacEntee