Reflection for the fourth Sunday of Advent.
“My spirit rejoices in God my Saviour.” Mary, in today’s Gospel Luke 1:39-56.
In the bleak midwinter frosty wind made moan – Christmas carol.
Peak midwinter – Daily Mirror headline today regarding rising Omicron statistics.
The storm clouds are gathering as many churches prepare to hold carol services today in light of dire warnings about the spread of Omicron. This year, as beautiful carols such as In the bleak midwinter are sung once more, new resonances come into being with puns in the newspaper headlines and the irony of it being Lord Frost whose resignation has caused the latest worry for Boris Johnson. As we now face a crisis that has been called the nightmare before Christmas, Mary’s quiet insistence that her soul rejoices even amidst the uncertainty she then faced speaks to us across the ages.
Mary’s proclamation in the Magnificat is a song of hope at a time when there was Roman occupation, much political unrest as well as suspicion and a census requiring travel which can’t have been easy when heavily pregnant. In one so young, Mary’s words could seem naive until the reality became clear as she and Joseph together answered God’s call and gave human care to Jesus in a place where there was only room for him with the animals. In doing so, an innkeeper, working shepherds on a chilly hillside, wandering scholars and King Herod became aware of his birth and the seeds were sown for Jesus’ first two years to be spent on the run in Egypt as a refugee. Not the best of starts for the Holy Family, it would seem, and yet all part of God’s transformative purposes.
Today, there are still so many refugees, political unrest as well as violence and travel is again an issue due to the pandemic. Many are sick at heart due to the losses, changes and weariness the pandemic has brought and the way the world is. Others are sick of the political posturing going on and many are sick with Covid and its effects, causing yet more concern about the strain on the NHS. Whatever challenges we face this Christmas, once more the story of the mingling of divine and human love can bring us hope if we allow it too and Mary’s words can inspire us to rejoice too despite the perplexing circumstances ahead.
Two thousand years ago, a young woman and her perplexed fiancé persevered despite all the complexities they faced as they looked for and enabled the good within it all. Today, where and how can we persevere by looking for and enabling the good within it all – despite the growing complexities we now face – so that the Good News of love and hope reborn will still be proclaimed at a time when the world so much needs to hear it?
With my prayers; pob bendith,
TV: your ultimate guide to staying in.
Potentially existential – Sadiq Kahn, London Mayor.
Peak midwinter – mirrorIn the bleak midwinter – Lord Frost.What some have called The nightmare before ChristmasThe pill will be worse than the ill – Dr Chris Smith. Response worse than problem – Not enough yet known about Omicron.
a healthy Christmas and a hopeful New Year.