Each Monday we publish Sunday's Coming, an email-only post on the upcoming readings, written by our current Living by the Word columnist.
Proper 1: Isaiah 9:2-7; Psalm 96; Titus 2:11-14; Luke 2:1-14, (15-20)
Proper 2: Isaiah 62:6-12; Psalm 97; Titus 3:4-7; Luke 2:(1-7), 8-20
Proper 3: Isaiah 52:7-10; Psalm 98; Hebrews 1:1-4, (5-12); John 1:1-14
In the 12th century, a Benedictine nun had a vision of Jesus’ humanity. It couldn’t have happened on a better night.
Luke 2:1–14 (15–20)
According to Google Maps, it would take 34 hours to travel from Nazareth to Bethlehem on foot. The question for Luke in this journey of two peasants is where hope might be found.
So tonight we carol again squintingat words by candlelight: betwixtan ox and a silly poor ass,and (louder) mortal flesh keep silence.Animal warmth in this darkness risesamong us with each singer’s breath, as shadowssuggest great slumbering beastswhose fur brushes us with peace and easesour way to believe Incarnatus est.Bodies and beast-shadows sway and grow still.No one startles as candleflames tongue air that now seems alive. Breathing. Blessed.
I don't much like the days and weeks after Christmas. Christmas takes so long to get here, with preparations and anticipation building from mid-November on. And then, sometime during the day of December 25, it all collapses.
What do these words from Isaiah ben Amoz mean for us?
My first instinct is to meditate on Isaiah 9 in light of its historical situation, which is bound up with the geopolitics of the late 8th century BCE.
Revised Common Lectionary © 1992 the Consultation on Common Texts. Used by permission.
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