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SUNDAYS 9am 11am 1pm     WEDNESDAYS 7:15pm
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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Dan Peeler
Order of St. Francis and St. Clare
Minister for Children and Families

“And the Word became flesh and lived among us…” John 1.14a

A Word of Hope
Every year at Advent time, as we saw dramatized by our wonderful children in our annual Nativity Pageant on Sunday, we do a lot of Gospel juggling between the birth narratives according to Luke or Matthew. Were the Magi in Luke or Matthew? Which told about the shepherds? Which had no room in the Inn? The subplot details can often obscure the central theme. We usually overlook completely the most succinct of all the birth stories in a third Gospel, John, who begins his writing with the beautiful poem equating the Word to God, and clearly summing up the incarnation for us in the above scripture. In Luke, Jesus’ mother also humbly reinforces the “word” metaphor: “Then Mary said, ‘Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.’”(Luke 1.38)

The word became flesh the first time in the most natural of ways, by gestating and finally springing forth from the womb of Mary. But how do we give birth to the Word, to Jesus, today? To me, Advent is our season of gestation, the days when we should first set aside time to grow spiritually ourselves as the noted Christian mystic, Joan Chittister, observes, “We live and breathe, grow and develop in the womb of God.” In our awareness of this, we then have the opportunity to meditate on the miracle of the Word actually developing and growing within our own beings. We can be like Mary, who lived and contemplated and matured in the womb of God while simultaneously carrying God in her own womb. The Presbyterian chaplain and author, Loretta Ross-Gotta, speaks of this Advent miracle:

“We create holy ground and give birth to Christ in our time not by doing but by believing and by loving the mysterious Infinite One who stirs within. This requires trust that something of great and saving importance is growing and kicking its heels in you.”

May we be the humble vessels of your Word becoming flesh once again this Advent Season.

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