Monthly Archives: November 2011

Advent Reflection #3: St. Augustine

And now, with what word shall we praise the love of God?  What thanks shall we give?  He so loved us that for our sakes He, older by eternity than the world itself, was younger in age than many of His servants in the world.  He who made man was made man.  He was given existence by a mother whom He brought into existence.  He was carried in hands which He formed.  He was nursed at breasts which He filled.  He cried like a babe in the manger in speechless infancy, this Word without which human eloquence is speechless.

St. Augustine

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I appreciate the wisdom of this quote from John Donne, a Gospel wisdom that sees the straight and necessarily unbroken line connecting the manger, the Cross, and the throne of our Lord:

“The whole of Christ’s life was a continual passion; others die martyrs, but Christ was born a martyr.  He found a Golgotha, where He was crucified, even in Bethlehem, where He was born; for to His tenderness then the straws were almost as sharp as the thorns after, and the manger as uneasy at first as the cross at last.  His birth and His death were but one continual act, and His Christmas Day and His Good Friday are but the evening and the morning of one and the same day.  From the crèche to the cross is an inseparable line.  Christmas only points forward to Good Friday and Easter.  It can have no meaning apart from that, where the Son of God displayed His glory by His death.”

John Donne

Advent Reflection #2: He Found a Golgotha in His Bethlehem

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Advent Reflection #1

I’m glad and amazed all at once that Advent is upon us.  Christmas 2011 will be my 30th as a Christian, and I rejoice to be able to say from a full heart that the Gospel that broke in on my life with such compelling power and beauty in 1981 is even lovelier and more compelling to me today at 3 decades’ remove.

Over the years–I think because I was converted at Christmas time–I’ve experienced Advent as an especially rich time for reflection and celebration.  This year, I want to commemorate the joys of Advent a bit more publicly than usual by sharing some of my favorite Advent/incarnation quotes and reflections with you on this blog.  I do so with the prayer that the Lord will use them to point every visitor to these pages to Christ.  I’m also hoping that the discipline of daily posts during Advent will train me to be a more regular blogger, something I’ve wanted to do for a while now.

I’ve been very fond of Luci Shaw’s poetry for quite some time now.  I highly recommend her collection, “Accompanied by Angels: Poems of the Incarnation.”  Because I will be preaching from Matthew 1:18-25 this upcoming Sunday, I was drawn today to her poem “Virgin.”  I hope it will encourage you today to reflect with wonder and gratitude on the Incarnation:


As if until that moment

nothing real

had happened since Creation

As if the outside world were empty

so that she and he were all

there was–he mover, she moved upon

As if her submission were the most

dynamic of all works; as if

no one had ever said Yes like that

As if that day the sun had no place

in all the universe to pour its gold

but her small room


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