Advent 2010

December 19 – Fourth Sunday in Advent

‘O’ Antiphon *

O stock of Jesse, you stand as a signal for the nations; kings fall silent before you whom the peoples acclaim. O come to deliver us, and do not delay

Thought for today:

Lyonel had a packed church for his funeral. For some people this came as a bit of a surprise. But for the many who knew him it wasn’t. Not that Lyonel was any goody-two-shoes. No, Lyonel was a drug addict living with HIV/AIDS who slept rough on the streets for many years. He was short in stature, tall in faith, always loyal.

When Lyonel got sick he sought help among others who were ill and who were also seeking help. Among them he was an earthy presence, funny, warm, shrewd and wise. He was a born poet, a natural healer, a singer of songs. He was tender-hearted, forgiving and real. For such richness to have been contained in so small a package was truly marvellous!

On this last Sunday of Advent the Church invites everyone to understand that God’s ways often reveal themselves in small circumstances, when least expected, and not necessarily through the powers of this world. Advent highlights God working through insignificant people. The infancy stories of Matthew and Luke tell the world of God’s openness revealed in a baby. All the gospels go on to reveal God speaking through the poor and the broken, the outcasts and the lame, and ultimately through a presumed criminal crucified naked in a rubbish tip outside the city gates.



Thus says the Lord: You, Bethlehem-Ephrathah, too small to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler of Israel; whose origin is from of old, from ancient times.
-Micah 5:1


Lord, fill our hearts with your love, and as you revealed to us by an angel the coming of your Son as a human being, so lead us through his suffering and death to the glory of his resurrection, for he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever.  Amen.

Poetry extract

The tiny, not the immense,
Will teach our groping eyes
So the absorbed skies
Bleed stars of innocence.
So cloud-voice in war and trouble
Is at last Christ in the stable
- From ‘Five Days Old’ by Francis Webb


The Little Drummer Boy sung by Bob Seger (lyrics below)

Come they told me, pa rum pum pum pum
A new born King to see, pa rum pum pum pum
Our finest gifts we bring, pa rum pum pum pum
To set before the King, pa rum pum pum pum,
rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum,
So to honor Him, pa rum pum pum pum,
When we come.
Little Baby, pa rum pum pum pum
I am a poor boy too, pa rum pum pum pum
I have no gift to bring, pa rum pum pum pum
That's fit to give the King, pa rum pum pum pum,
rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum,
Shall I play for you, pa rum pum pum pum,
On my drum?
Mary nodded, pa rum pum pum pum
The ox and lamb kept time, pa rum pum pum pum
I played my drum for Him, pa rum pum pum pum
I played my best for Him, pa rum pum pum pum,
rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum,
Then He smiled at me, pa rum pum pum pum
Me and my drum.


 * The seven ‘O Antiphons’ (they each begin with ‘O’) are age-old songs that are part of the Catholic Church’s liturgy for Evening Prayer. Each evening, for Advent’s last eight days leading up to Christmas, one of the antiphons is sung. Each antiphon addresses Jesus with a unique title taken from the Prophet Isaiah.