On the first day of Advent…

God’s arrival means that needs will be met, grace will abound, all will be welcomed, and justice-filled love will reign…

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 every tyrant from his throne. The hungry poor shall weep no more, for the food they can never earn. There are tables spread; every mouth be fed, for the world is about to turn…

I was first introduced to this song at a Montreat Youth Conference where we were told that this setting of the Magnificat was created during a period of peace in the midst of the civil discord in Ireland. It was meant to draw the people back to one another with their common faith in Christ.

What is amazing about this arrangement is how it highlights the revolutionary nature of God’s Kingdom coming to earth. In this vision, the world that we have known and as we have understood, cannot continue. Especially when it comes to the people God shows special care for – orphans, widows, the poor, the hungry, the thirsty, the naked, the sick, the prisoners, the outcasts, the oppressed – God’s arrival means that needs will be met, grace will abound, all will be welcomed, and justice-filled love will reign.

The world does not like this vision, because it is a complete reversal of much we hold dear. Advent invites us into a season of opening our eyes to God’s presence in our midst and God’s will for our lives. As God has been, is and will be – so are we to be. We are to welcome. We are to spread grace and mercy. We are to fill the physical needs of our neighbors. We are to seek justice for all this world oppresses. Though we cannot complete Christ’s work, Jesus told us clearly that we will be held to account for how well we share the love God has given us.

So may this be our prayer this day: 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, till the spear and rod can be crushed by God, who is turning the world around. 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.

Canticle of Turning

Reverse Advent Calendar: Throughout this season of expectation, consider pursuing an advent calendar. However, rather than merely enjoying chocolate or other goodies, think of ways you might anticipate the Christ-child’s arrival that serve those Christ came to save.

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