No Room

11. When Mary and Joseph arrived in Nazareth, there was no room in the inn.

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‘There was no room’ makes a sadness well up in me. I have been told of broken lives and relationships that floundered because there was ‘no room’. A heart rejected, a job made redundant, a love mislaid or a plea forsaken.

We proclaim grace unlimited but can act as if for someone else there is ‘no room’. The Advent call is to repentance and restoration. If you have signalled ‘no room’ how do you repent and restore?

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Great Expectations 

10. It was a long and difficult journey, especially for Mary whose tummy was getting very big because the baby was nearly ready to be born.

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There is a strange encumbrance, a draw back to being heavily pregnant; how you move, what you can eat it or drink. What a time for Mary to take a long journey? There must have been great expectation, in the simple birth of a first child and this promise of Emmanuel.

Advent can be a time of preparation as we move toward the birth of the Christ-child. We may grow wise in the encumbrances or draw backs in our own spirituality in this ‘long and difficult journey’ we call life.

What burden do we gift to Jesus that he would carry for us?

Great Things.

8. Mary said, “God does great things: because of my baby the hungry will be fed, the poor will be lifted up.”

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‘Christ be with me, Christ within me’ – such a subtle prayer that can only reflect Mary’s song.

Mary understood the significance of her baby. In the eye of the wise, those who saw her (Elizabeth) and those who were to see her babe (Simeon), there seems to develop a critical prophetic eye. That the child will grow to be a mover and shaker, but not in the business or political sense. Jesus was to become the Emmanuel- ‘God with us’ – for the poor and marginalised.

Therefore in the prayer ‘Christ be with me, Christ within me’ maybe we should hear Mary saying to us, “God does great things: because of my son in you, the hungry will be fed, the poor will be lifted up.”

May you reflect the Christ light in you dealings, particularly the marginalised today. Do something that shows that light today.

Hail Mary!

Christ Be With Me.

6. Another angel visited Joseph inside a dream and said to him, “Mary’s baby will also be called ‘Emmanuel” this name means that God is with us.”

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All of this week has been about the breaking of God into our world. Joseph’s experience seals the event into a name. “God is with us” should be our middle name and our very nature. May your prayer be today:

Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

But like Joseph don’t just sit on the knowledge – be prepared.

Extra-Ordinary 

5. An angel, called Gabriel, came to visit Mary. He said to her, “You will have God’s baby, and will name him Jesus.”

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After the ordinary the extra-ordinary. To hope or expect the extra-ordinary is not really a modern state. We are far too practical and logical to expect God breaking into life in such a prominent way. Prophets and seers are held at sceptical arms length.

Yet those who constantly proclaim God’s Kingdom still live and breath in this generation. I am not talking about the shouters on street corners or those who announce God’s doom. Jesus spoke of cups of water given, children cared for and prisoners visited. Look for and practice generosity, caring and visiting – be a present day angel proclaiming Christ’s kingdom.

Who will I give, care for or visit today. Pray and act afterward.

Loving and Planning 

4. Mary and Joseph loved each other very much and were engaged to be married.

 

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No one is an island in that we live in a sea of relationships. Jesus’ ministry and the Christian faith is still about relationships; with God and our neighbours. Our Advent story places the events of Jesus birth within a relationship. Dig deeply and it seems a strange relationship to modern norms but our story place Mary and Joseph together, loving and planning. What a state of grace to be in – loving and planning!

Where will you loving and planning take you spiritually today and through Advent. Focus on someone or a particular situation for a few moments.