In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a maiden engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The maiden’s name was Mary.
(With apologies for the previously garbled WORDPRESS formatting)
What great adventure awaits you this Advent, in these greatly troubled times?
How do we make room
for hope in the gloom,
and peace to smooth the way in the dealings of our day?
How do we give voice
to understanding and compassion
in our worldly wilderness where heartlessness is in fashion?
Will you attend again to that age-old parable
of messengers from the heavens
and signs in starry skies…
of wisdom setting out to meet humility;
and a maid who made room
for unimagined possibility…
of a refugee-God outcast,
brought to birth in poverty,
and swaddled in squalor…
of a Liberator nestled amid beasts of burden
in an occupied land,
and of hope hosted by a wandering shepherd band?
Will you re-tell that ancient teaching tale,
of flight in the night
from lustful power…
that fears the vulnerable,
and dreads the promised restoration
that is most surely coming?
And the angel came to her and said, ‘Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you. But she was greatly troubled by these words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. The angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.
Now, will you make room
for contemporary connections,
and parallel parables…
of unlikely welcomes and visitations
of fear and flight, of hearts roomy and ready,
and of promise wrapped in the powerlessness of our time?
The gift of greatest efficacy and power that we can offer God and creation is not our skills, gifts, abilities, and possessions. Mary offered only space, love, belief.
The work of Advent consists of this: make room!
Attune your heart to the hope, long-expected,
by hungry souls and broken lives.
Clear the clutter, quiet the noise,
turn off the soundtrack,
douse the glittering lights.
Put away your lists to listen
to cries from the dark heart of the earth
that break the heart of the universe.
Set aside the presents just to be present,
and leave behind the plastic pretense
to stand beneath the sky and ponder the Maker of a trillion galaxies…
who cares yet for the smallest places,
and seeks out the darkest recesses,
bearing the gift of tenuous new life.
For into each unfolding moment
with or without us, the Christ arrives
looking only for room and readiness.
Let us not be found
corrupted by the cancer of consumption,
lost in self-fulfilling dreams of doom…
or decorated by distraction,
and driven by the appetite for acquisition,
dismissing the catastrophe playing out before our misted eyes.
All this world needs to embody the Christ-becoming
is space, in humble, generous hearts
and spirits still ready and willing.
The message of hope is sent to enlighten our distress.
The promise of peace is meant for the conflict-torn places.
For Christ is made flesh in the midst of this mess.
As water sinks to the lowest point and love finds the sorest soul,
so the Christ seeks out the broken,
bringing forth restoration that makes the wounded whole.
Turn your face to the sun and the shadows fall behind you.
The slimmest hope is hopeful still. The slightest flicker glimmers for all.
As earth rolls away from the dark, will you re-turn your life
to reflect the light of a new dawn?