Second Tuesday in Advent 2009

“Every ordinary thing in your life is a word of God’s love: your home, your work, the food you eat, the friends you delight in, the clothes your wear, the air you breathe, the flowers under your feet are the courtesy of God’s heart flung down on you! All these things say one thing only: ‘See how I love you.’ As you keep watch this Advent, be mindful of the Holy One within who keeps vigil over you, even listening to your heartbeat.”Caryll Houselander, woodcarver and mystic

“The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad, the desert shall rejoice and blossom; like the crocus it shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice with joy and singing”.—Isaiah 35:1-2

Cedar of Lebanon
Cedar of Lebanon

Isaiah is weaving a vision that indicts the military might of the kings of Tyre, Babylon, Egypt, Edom. In earlier chapters, Isaiah gives a sharp-tongued eulogy on the death of that clear-cutting king Nebuchadnezzar: “The pines themselves and the cedars of Lebanon exult over you. Since you have been laid low, they say, no man comes to fell us” (14:8).

What are these songs that the earth sings? What is the role of singing amongst those who are oppressed? In slavery and servitude the world over singing is a sign of lament and resistance. So if earth is singing for joy then these must be “resistance songs.”

As theologian Ched Myers says, “Empire has always been at war with nature.” “Resource wars” are nothing new. But when empires are brought low, as Isaiah predicts will occur when God’s word is fulfilled, then the very earth will sing its victory song over the oppressor.

Do you live an honorable life with regards to the earth? Will your Christmas gifts celebrate creation?

Ad……vent. A d v e n t (slowly breathe in on the “Ad” part and out on the “vent” part)…There! You prayed today. Keep it up!

With gratitude to Pax Christi USA where some of these reflections first appeared in print..

2 responses to “Second Tuesday in Advent 2009”

  1. How lovely! It looks like the whole poem is: “Advent, Advent, ein Lichtlein brennt. Erst eins, dann zwei, dann drei, dann vier – dann steht das Christkind vor der Tür. Und wenn das fünfte Lichtlein brennt, dann hast du Weihnachten verpennt.”

    “Advent, Advent, a candle burns. First one, then two, then three, then four – then Jesus is standing in front of your door. And if the fifth candle burns, then you have overslept Christmas.”

  2. Reminds me of a little German parable my wife whispers quietly around the house this time of year. “Ad…vent, Ad…vent, wenn Lictlein brennt, dann Eins, dann Zwei, dann Drei, dann Vier, dann steht das Christ-Kind vor der Tur.”

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