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Pastor's Notes - December 2015

posted Dec 14, 2015, 2:14 PM by Laurie DeGezelle
Dear Friends,

This morning when I left the house there was a dusting of snow on the ground - a sign of hope for winter sports enthusiasts, perhaps a sign of dread for others, but in
either case a sure indication of what is to come.

Advent as you know is a season of joyful anticipation of the birth of Jesus and hopeful longing for his return to initiate the reign of God.  In the lessons assigned for
this season we hear some of the most wonderful canticles expressing the promise of God's reign.  (A canticle is a hymn or other song of praise found in the Bible,
other than a Psalm.)

When John the Baptist was born, his father Zechariah, who had been unable to speak for nine months because he doubted the angel's announcement in
the temple, proclaimed:

        Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel; he has come to his people and set them free.
        He has raised up for us a might savior, born of the house of his servant, David.
        In the tender compassion of our God the dawn from on high shall break upon us,
        To shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death,
        And to guide our feet into the way of peace.  (Canticle 16, BCP p. 92)

When Mary went to visit Elizabeth and help with John's birth, the boy leapt in Elizabeth's womb, causing her to exclaim: "Blessed are you among women,
and blessed is the fruit of your womb.  For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leapt for joy."   (Luke 1:41, 44, NRSV)

To which Mary responded with the canticle we commonly call the Magnificat:

        My soul proclaims the great news of the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my Savior;
        For he has looked with favor on his lowly servant. ...
        He has mercy on those who fear him in every generation.
        He has shown the strength of his arm, He has scattered the proud in their conceit.
        He has cast down the mighty from their thrones, and has lifted up the lowly.
        He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty.
        He has come to the help of this servant Israel, for he has remembered his promise of mercy.   (Canticle 15, BCP, p. 91)

Let us join with Elizabeth, Zechariah, and Mary in looking forward with joyful anticipation to the birth of Christ our Savior.

The Rev. Dr. Thomas D Harries
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