Today yet another angel enters the Advent readings, and this time it is the angel Gabriel addressing Mary, and with her is the perfect obedience to God that is Mary. It is as if God resided with her even before a word was spoken. Her ears are always open to God, and her actions are always one of obedience. The first reading is David’s questioning the place for the Adoni to reside, he is thinking of building the temple, a dwelling place for the Lord. That temple will be built by his son Solomon, but it does raise the question of the places built for the Lord, and also the places where that Lord resides. Being a week before Christmas, it has me pondering a bit all of the varied dwelling places in the Christmas narrative. In the Old Testament the Jerusalem temple was the dwelling place for Adoni on earth, it was that intersection between heaven and earth. At the time of Christ’s birth that temple was greatly expanded by Herod and truly was a magnificent architectural achievement. It also had an administrative hierarchy, and a clearly defined set of rules for who could go where. Contrast that with Christ’s first architectural structure, the grotto that was used to protect livestock.It was a place to protect His sheep. While in the old temple the architecture was a thing of wonder, in that grotto the wonder is the birth of Christ. There is nothing to distract from that birth. While in the temple there is still that magnificence of the building, with the grotto nothing detracts from the infant Christ. From Christ’s birth He teaches Gods magnificence, and for man to be humble. Jesus second place of residence is on that same parcel of land, it is the manger he was placed in, and a manger is a place to feed a shepherds sheep. Of course neither of these places have any meaning, if it were not for that woman the God to be born resided in, and that is Mary. In that Nativity scene to come, when thinking about the residency of Christ, I don’t think so much of the temple replacement as the Church. I think of the tabernacle and the ciborium, and I think of that God residing within me and around me. Within Christians, and around Christians. With today’s antiphon, I also think of the sunlight rising on that grotto, and that light shining from that grotto. It is the reason the church faces east.
Todays Antiphon: Oriens or O Radiant Dawn
O Dawn, splendor of eternal light, and sun of justice, come, and shine on those seated in darkness, and in the shadow of death.
Christmas Novena day 6
HAIL, and blessed be the hour and moment At which the Son of God was born Of a most pure Virgin At a stable at midnight in Bethlehem In the piercing cold At that hour vouchsafe, I beseech Thee, To hear my prayers for that light of the world to be seen by all through word or action; to truly be illuminated by that gospel, and to use that light to guide others. Through Jesus Christ and His most Blessed Mother. Amen