I should post this up somewhere, my prayer for the Third Sunday in Advent.  I was thinking about three themes:

  1. Jesus wasn’t born in a stable.  He was born in the downstairs part of a Middle-Eastern house because upstairs was full of extended family who were there for the census.  I reckon as soon as mother Mary went into labour, every woman in the household worth her weight in wisdom was down there supporting her, and every man found somewhere else to be.
  2. The same word for ‘inn’, as in ‘where there was no room’, is the same word for ‘upper room’ where the Last Supper took place.  The life of Jesus was a movement from downstairs to upstairs, and then he died.
  3. Christmas is a shitty and stressful time of the year, and I don’t expect it to get better for churchwomen who put in Sunday service, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day on top of doing a family Christmas.

I will be taking this to our psalm-writing group at Church next year and we will see if it needs any more knocking into shape.

Ah Dear Lord, the days are full of light, the world is growing and greener, midsummer is a week away.

We celebrate a season of light, and yet we celebrate with symbols of winter festivals

– light in the dark time of the year.

On Halloween and on All Saints’ Day you shut the gates of the dead and hold back the monsters.

At Diwali the head of the Demon King is crushed.

On Guy Fawkes Night we light fireworks into the night.

On the eight days of the Dedication the temple is restored and the covenant is renewed.

And at Christmas we celebrate again the birth of the holy Christ Child,

born downstairs among the domestic animals

– because upstairs was too full of whanau for there to be room

– beginning a life whose ultimate goal would be to be the host of party in that upstairs room.

So let us celebrate with family as you were once surrounded by family at your birth.

Let us give gifts and remind ourselves of the gift of life that comes from you alone.

Let us feast around the table with three kinds of meat, and new potatoes, and strawberries and cream and ice cream to follow – winter food and summer foods together.

And do not let the preparation overwhelm us, and destroy our festivity.

Let us remember that you prepare the feast at the end of time, and this is a foretaste for when you gather us all in.

In your upside-down kingdom, the comfortable shall serve the poor, the marginal, and the landless.

Your coming kingdom is so near, let it break into our lives, and turn us around, so we are left facing you.

Lord, bring hope. Lord, bring peace. Lord, bring joy.

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