Thursday, December 21, 2017

A Quaker Advent Reader: Day Twenty-One -- "The Great Joy"

Thomas Merton

The gospel of the nativity is, therefore, not merely the gentle comforting story of a mother and a sweet baby lying in a manger, a story which appeals to our hearts and brings us back once a year to the simplicity of our own lost childhood. It is a solemn proclamation of an event which is the turning point of all history – the coming of the Messiah, the anointed king and son of God, the Word-made-flesh, pitching his tent among us, not merely to seek and to save that which is lost, but to establish his kingdom.

The birth of the son of God is, then, our own birth to a new status, an elevation, an opening out of entirely new possibilities for humanity in Christ.

The nativity message is not only of joy but of the joy; the great joy which all the people of the world have always expected without realizing what it was. The nativity gospel is, then, the announcement of life.

Yes, I know that Quakers don't recognize liturgical seasons. But I like Advent and so will be sharing various readings/thoughts during this season (all of which fit with my understanding of Friends faith and life).


Jay T. said...


Thanks for your faithfulness this Advent in posting daily. I want you to know that I have read and appreciated every one.

The other publishers of truth about advent that I've been reading are Catholic and awakening Evangelicals. You're a Friend, so these selections are closer to my heart and existing understandings about incarnation and presence.

Each December as the days shorten I am left in the cold by our wider society's premature joy and mendacious advertising of 'the Christmas spirit.' Most Protestant churches take part as well. I find some inspiration and refuge in Catholic churches that observe Advent and devotionals such as yours. Thank you.

In about another day I will have noticed inwardly the lengthening of the sunlight and the arrival of the Christ child again. There will be time for celebration then.

Brent Bill said...

Thanks for your words, Jay. I hope your Christmas was blessed.