Advent Prayers, 19 December
O Radix Jesse
O root of Jesse, you stand as an ensign for the peoples:
kings shall fall silent before you and the nations shall seek you.
Come and deliver us; Delay no more.
My Soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour.
Today, a Christmas card arrived with a picture of Mother and Child. Mary was looking very pleased with herself indeed, unravelling a ball of wool as the Christ-child knit intricate Christmas stockings. It was delightful and mischievous – and a thousand miles away from traditional images of Mary with her eyes lowered to show humility and obedience.
Mary was obedient – when it really mattered and she said yes to God. But if you ever doubt Mary’s courage, her ability to think for herself, or her deep tendency towards non-conformity in her love of God and justice, just consider this:
At a time when women’s freedoms were greatly limited and they were safest at home with ‘their men’; at a time when travel was tricky, and and eighty-five mile journey took ten days, Mary hitched up her skirts and scurried over mountains to get to her cousin Elizabeth. Once Gabriel had spoken and Mary said yes, Mary wanted nothing more than understanding. She knew Elizabeth had been there: bewilderingly pregnant, overjoyed and afraid.
The desire for understanding and companionship is strong. It drives us to do crazy, wild things, and never more so than when we feel alone, or when life brings us to a point that feels confusing and new. We can see Mary’s passion in her strong-willed journey to Elizabeth, in the song of justice she sings, and in her brave,‘Yes’ to God. Mary is our Mother – our role model and guide – not because of her lowered eyes and quiet acquiescence, but because of her willingness to risk everything for God.
Gregory of Nyssa says this: “We are led to God by desire, drawn to him as if pulled by a rope.” (quoted in Robert Wilkens, The Spirit of Early Christian Thought, p. 300) Mary knew that, and trusted her desire – even as she trusted the promised presence of God.
Today we pray for Youth Projects across the diocese. We pray that the church will offer a place of real welcome for teenagers, so they can learn to trust themselves, act on the best of their desires, and build relationships that draw them ever closer to God.
the original post is here.