Advent Reflection 1

I travel so many weekends and am usually speaking at churches on Sundays, which I love – but today I had the rare treat of being at my own home church, just as an attender. Patsy Fratanduono, one of our pastors, spoke about the incarnation, the kids presented an amazing video, and the prayers and carols were wonderful.
I was especially struck by one line from each verse of the beautiful carol O Holy Night …

O holy night, the stars are brightly shining
It is the night of our dear Saviour’s birth
Long lay the world in sin and error pining
Til He appeared and the soul felt its worth
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks, a new and glorious morn
Fall on your knees, oh hear the angel voices
O night divine
O night when Christ was born
O night, O holy night, O night divine
… the mystery of incarnation truly helps us feel our worth: God has assumed humanity! God has taken us on!
Verse 2:
Led by the light of faith serenely beaming
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand
So led by light of a star sweetly gleaming
Here came the wise men from Orient land
The King of Kings, lay thus in lowly manger
In all our trials born to be our friend
He knows our need, our weakness is no stranger
Behold, your king
Before Him lowly bend
Behold, your king before Him lowly bend
… “In all our trials, born to be our friend. He knows our need, our weakness is no stranger.” Another amazing mystery – that God, through Christ, knows our lives from the inside, and not just through empathy, but through bringing that human experience into God’s own life.
Verse 3:
Truly He taught us to love one another
His law is love, and His gospel is peace
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother
And in His name all oppression shall cease
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we
Let all within us praise His holy name
Christ is the Lord, O praise His name forever
His power and glory ever more proclaim
… “For the slave is our brother.” The incarnation binds God and us up with everyone – especially the oppressed, because Jesus came among us as one of the enslaved and oppressed. Hallelujah!