#adventbookclub Day 29: The Adoration of the Magi

Reflecting on how we portray the Magi – their age, their ethnicity, their gender – got me on to thinking: who are the wise people of our day?

Whom do we count as wise? Those who have the most knowledge, the most experience, the most compassion, the best judgement, the greatest understanding… By what standards do we assess wisdom? And how does whom we count as wise reflect our values and priorities?

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#adventbookclub runs from 1st December until Epiphany. This year we are using “The Art of Advent” by Jane Williams, and raising some money for Mercy UK, a mental health charity over at the JustGiving page here. Search #adventbookclub on Twitter or Facebook to join in the conversation.

#adventbookclub Day 28: Time and Eternity

This is an interesting time of year at which to reflect on the nature of time and eternity. It is very easy, in these days between Christmas and New Year to lose track of time – indeed, I have just noticed I am a day behind in posting my #adventbookclub posts – and somehow, without our usual routine, time seems to move more slowly.

Yet very often time seems to speed up, especially when we are busy and stressed. “There’s not enough time!” we claim, “I don’t have time for this.” But viewed from a perspective of eternity, we can perhaps see time very differently. Not as something we are short of, or something we mustn’t ‘waste’ or something to be given begrudgingly to things we deem ‘worth our time’. Instead, time is a gift, a tiny portion of eternity, given to us for our tiny part of God’s eternal story.

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#adventbookclub runs from 1st December until Epiphany. This year we are using “The Art of Advent” by Jane Williams, and raising some money for Mercy UK, a mental health charity over at the JustGiving page here. Search #adventbookclub on Twitter or Facebook to join in the conversation.

#adventbookclub Day 27: The Nativity with the Holy Spirit

The annunciation is one of my favourite scenes in scripture, and depictions of it account for many of my favourite works of art (though today’s picture is not among them).

The dynamic between Mary and the Holy Spirit is an intriguing one. Who holds the power here? The obvious answer is God, who is all-powerful. But God chooses to hand over part of God’s power to Mary, who by her “yes” has the power to enable God to enter the world in full humanity.

In this moment, God models a radically different way of handling power: not hoarding it, nor denying it, but expanding its scope to include and empower others.

I wonder how we handle the power we have?

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#adventbookclub runs from 1st December until Epiphany. This year we are using “The Art of Advent” by Jane Williams, and raising some money for Mercy UK, a mental health charity over at the JustGiving page here. Search #adventbookclub on Twitter or Facebook to join in the conversation.

#adventbookclub Day 26: Nativity

The thing that strikes me most about today’s picture is a sense of Mary’s single-minded, single-hearted focus on Jesus.

I wonder, on what or on whom do we ever focus so fully?

What is it about Jesus that speaks to us through the myriad competing distractions which vie for our attention?

How can we become more attentive, more focused?

As we begin to look towards the New Year, I wonder how a desire for greater focus and attentiveness might make its way into any resolutions we make.

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#adventbookclub runs from 1st December until Epiphany. This year we are using “The Art of Advent” by Jane Williams, and raising some money for Mercy UK, a mental health charity over at the JustGiving page here. Search #adventbookclub on Twitter or Facebook to join in the conversation.

#adventbookclub Day 25: O Emmanuel

O Emmanuel,

God with us

In joy and sorrow

God with us

In peace and pain and anger

God with us

In human complexity

And divine simplicity.

Come, dwell in us

In all your fullness,

Illuminating who we are in you

By the light of who you are in us.

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#adventbookclub runs from 1st December until Epiphany. This year we are using “The Art of Advent” by Jane Williams, and raising some money for Mercy UK, a mental health charity over at the JustGiving page here. Search #adventbookclub on Twitter or Facebook to join in the conversation.

#adventbookclub Day 24: O King of the Nations

O King of the Nations,

You meet us in all our humanity,

Our vulnerability and fallibility,

And call us into another way

Of being human.

In your power, you teach us

That the fate of the world

Is not in our gift,

But in yours.

You become lowly

To draw us back

To our own lowliness

And meet you there.

Come, make us more like you,

And do not let us make you

In our own imperfect image.

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#adventbookclub runs from 1st December until Epiphany. This year we are using “The Art of Advent” by Jane Williams, and raising some money for Mercy UK, a mental health charity over at the JustGiving page here. Search #adventbookclub on Twitter or Facebook to join in the conversation.

#adventbookclub Day 23: O Morning Star

O Morning Star,

You are the first hint

Of a new light.

You throw into sharp relief

The deep glory of darkness,

And dazzle the people

Who have dwelt in it so long.

Come, shine through the darkness

Of grace-filled, pain-pierced lives

To bring hope to those who wait.

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#adventbookclub runs from 1st December until Epiphany. This year we are using “The Art of Advent” by Jane Williams, and raising some money for Mercy UK, a mental health charity over at the JustGiving page here. Search #adventbookclub on Twitter or Facebook to join in the conversation.

#adventbookclub Day 22: O Key of David

O Key of David,

You meet us

In unlikely heroes

And unlooked for challenges.

You rule with strength

Which puts care before power,

And lead your people

Out of the humility

Which is certain

Of who you are

And who we are in you.

Come, open our locked doors

So that we may welcome in

Our own unlikely ruler.

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#adventbookclub runs from 1st December until Epiphany. This year we are using “The Art of Advent” by Jane Williams, and raising some money for Mercy UK, a mental health charity over at the JustGiving page here. Search #adventbookclub on Twitter or Facebook to join in the conversation.

#adventbookclub Day 21: O Root of Jesse

O Root of Jesse,

In you are planted all people

And from you springs

Life and growth.

You are the one

Who roots us in the truth

Of who we are in you.

You bind together

All our identities,

Not negating but fulfilling.

Come, keep us rooted

In the love which binds us

Into your life.

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#adventbookclub runs from 1st December until Epiphany. This year we are using “The Art of Advent” by Jane Williams, and raising some money for Mercy UK, a mental health charity over at the JustGiving page here. Search #adventbookclub on Twitter or Facebook to join in the conversation.

#adventbookclub Day 20: O Adonai

O Adonai,

You called to Moses from the bush,

On fire and yet unburned.

Still you call to us

From the most impossible place.

You use your unimaginable power

Not to coerce and control

But to liberate.

You allow us to question and to argue

With your unarguable plans,

To draw our own conclusions,

Until at the last we turn

Freely and willingly

To stand on holy ground.

Come, meet with us

In all our unlikeliness,

And assure us of your gentle power.

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#adventbookclub runs from 1st December until Epiphany. This year we are using “The Art of Advent” by Jane Williams, and raising some money for Mercy UK, a mental health charity over at the JustGiving page here. Search #adventbookclub on Twitter or Facebook to join in the conversation.