Fourth Sunday of Advent: End of Waiting and a Beginning

Ah, the magic day is almost upon us. The weeks of busy chaos, preparation, and anticipation will culminate into a wondrous and perfect day, overflowing with peace and joy. Or will it? Everyone who is part of a family knows how holidays can reignite family conflicts or differences. And everyone can remember a time when they finally got what they wanted – a certain toy or gift – and then found that it was not what they really wanted.

Yet, the birth of a child is always a miraculous event. A child changes our lives in specific ways that we are not able to foresee or anticipate. During these last days of Advent, let us remind ourselves that God’s promise always delivers. It will change our lives, although we may not be able to envision the specific ways God’s promise becomes manifest.

The fourth Sunday of Advent may mark the end of this period of waiting, but it also marks the beginning of a new life. Our theme, “Hope For a World Where No One Is Homeless,” invites us to consider the value of home, the world’s need for extravagant hospitality, and how we are transformed by its offering.

The text from Luke 1:46-55 is called “The Magnificat.” It is Mary’s song of praise to God for the world-changing miracle gestating within her. Check out this link to a contemporary version called “Canticle of the Turning” by Rory Cooney; the words follow if you’d like to read only. “Canticle of the Turning”

1) My soul cries out with a joyful shout that the God of my heart is great, and my spirit sings of the wondrous things that you bring to the ones who wait. You fixed your sight on your servant’s plight, and my weakness you did not spurn, so from east to west shall my name be blest. Could the world be about to turn?

My heart shall sing of the day you bring. Let the fires of your justice burn. Wipe away all tears, for the dawn draws near, and the world is about to turn!

2) Though I am small, my God, my all, you work great things in me, and your mercy will last from the depths of the past to the end of the age to be. Your very name puts the proud to shame, and to those who would for you yearn, You will show your might, put the strong to flight, for the world is about to turn.

3) From the halls of power to the fortress tower, not a stone will be left on stone. Let the king beware for your justice tears ev’ry tyrant from his throne. The hungry poor shall weep no more, for the food they can never earn; there are tables spread, ev’ry mouth be fed, for the world is about to turn.

4) Though the nations rage from age to age, we remember who holds us fast: God’s mercy must deliver us from the conqueror’s crushing grasp. This saving word that our forebears heard is the promise which holds us bound, ’til the spear and rod can be crushed by God, who is turning the world around.

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