Isaiah 60 and Psalm 130 – Introit for Advent 4
Oh that you would rend the heavens and come down, that the mountains might quake at your presence.
I wait for Yahweh.
My soul waits.
I hope in his word.
6 My soul longs for the Lord more than watchmen long for the morning;
more than watchmen for the morning.
7 Israel, hope in Yahweh,
for with Yahweh there is loving kindness.
With him is abundant redemption.
8 He will redeem Israel from all their sins.
Now the birth of Jesus Christ was like this; for after his mother, Mary, was engaged to Joseph, before they came together, she was found pregnant by the Holy Spirit. 19 Joseph, her husband, being a righteous man, and not willing to make her a public example, intended to put her away secretly. 20 But when he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, don’t be afraid to take to yourself Mary, your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 21 She shall give birth to a son. You shall call his name Jesus, for it is he who shall save his people from their sins.”
22 Now all this has happened, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying,
23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child,
and shall give birth to a son.
They shall call his name Immanuel”;
which is, being interpreted, “God with us.”
24 Joseph arose from his sleep, and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took his wife to himself; 25 and didn’t know her sexually until she had given birth to her firstborn son. He named him Jesus.
Prayer: Stir up Your power, O Lord, and come and help us by Your Might, that the sins which weigh us down may be quickly lifted by Your grace and mercy; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
Jeanette Winterson from “Christmas Days”
In fact, the Christmas story starts with a demand for money: “And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.”
And ends with a gift – ‘unto us a child is born.”
The gift of new life is followed by the gifts of the magi-the gold, frankincense and myrrh.
We give ourselves. We give ourselves to others. We give ourselves to ourselves. We give.
Whatever we make of Christmas, it should be ours, not something we buy off the shelves.