Artists, bands and soloists often have a signature tune which identifies their iconic message. Advent gives us clear insight into God’s signature issues when striving to prepare the world for the coming of Jesus.
By re-acquainting ourselves with the ‘graced partnerships’ of the Advent Narratives, we get vital clues about God’s signature issues. We discover that God invariably reversed the world’s expectations. When dealing with God, expect the unexpected!
- Jesse and David – God’s spirit rested upon the seemingly dead root of Jesse. If DNA testing had existed, it would have proved Joseph’s descent from David. Jesus’ genealogy showed he came from a flawed, if not ‘dodgy’ ancestry. He came as a helpless baby not a triumphant Messiah.
This partnership reminds us to look at others with wonder and appreciation regardless of their background, status or power.
- Mary and Joseph – Joseph, newly engaged to Mary, faced a baffling and painful enigma. Following the angel’s advice, he reversed a former, anguished decision and took Mary into his home as his wife and the baby as his own.This partnership is a reminder to have the courage and flexibility to adapt our life’s plan to the responsibilities of love.
- Jesus and John the Baptist – How they loved each other! But the austere John and the sociable Jesus were both destined to be rejected. They were radically different in personality but united in love. If we follow their example, our appreciation of difference will grow and our judgement decline.
- Mary and Elizabeth – Elizabeth, despite her old age and Mary, despite her virginity witnessed that out of emptiness and barrenness God can miraculously create new life.
When we experience emptiness, God calls us from barrenness to fruitfulness. These fierce moments make huge demands but let us emulate the boundless joy of the Visitation.
- Elizabeth and Zechariah – John’s birth was a sign of God’s mercy to Elizabeth. Family and friends expected the child to be called Zechariah but Elizabeth insisted on ‘John’. Objecting to this departure from cultural norms and tradition, the gathering appealed to Zechariah who sent them a ‘text message’, ‘His name is John’.
Let us rejoice that John’s parents put attentiveness to God before iron-clad customs and expectations.
- Simeon and Anna – Simeon announced Jesus to be the light to the nations, a sign to be opposed. He prophesied that Mary’s heart would be pierced. Anna of great age ‘came by at that moment’ as a sign of hope and source of strength for the distressed young woman. Let us listen to the wise ones who see further than we can see and strengthen us to face whatever comes.
The people of Advent are “us”.
The Baptist prods us on to newness,
and the Zachary in us resists until our Elizabeth insists.
Our Joseph lets it happen,
and the young Mary in us seizes the gift
and runs with it.
It must be so if the Christ in us is to be born.
Elizabeth Meluch OCD
Gen Ryan rsj
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