In these days of instant communications and social media, its noticeable how even messages from the most casual of acquaintances end with a kiss or two, or ‘xx’ to be precise! It doesn’t seem to matter how well you do or don’t know the person concerned, but the whole range of traditional ways of signing off, from ‘yours faithfully’, as far as ‘I remain, sir, your obedient servant’, seems to be disappearing. ‘X’ of course used to be the sign of the illiterate, but before then was actually akin to the sign of the cross in a medieval document, more ‘+’ than ‘x’, and kissing the sign on the parchment or paper was the equivalent to taking an oath. A simple gesture that bound the one who made it.
Politicians and media gurus expound KISS as ‘keep it simple, stupid’, and perhaps there is something of value there. The story that will unfold for us during Advent and Christmass is, at it’s simplest, a story of wonder and amazement, of God’s decisive involvement in human lives. Yet behind the wonder and the divine kiss of the Stable at Bethlehem, is the profound truth of God our Creator, who took our human flesh to redeem us on the Cross, and who remains with us still. A Holy Mystery that will never exhaust the telling.
Psalm 85 is often used to help us enter the Christmass mystery, especially verse 10,
Mercy and truth are net together,
Righteousness and peace have kissed each other.
In the mystery and graciousness of the Word made flesh, Jesus, the Son of God, God’s righteousness, God’s goodness, touches, kisses, the whole of creation. We are invited into the Divine embrace, invited to share all that God wishes for his Creation, visible, even touchable, in the Christ-Child of the Stable.
I hope you will have a good, and a holy Advent, and enjoy the caroling and the good cheer, the cards and the tinsel, if that is what you choose to do. Yet let us not lose sight of the astonishing, life-changing truth that we explore in this Holy Season, the God who took flesh in Bethlehem, shares our life still, and will come again in glory.
Pax et Bonum – Peace and all Good to you!
Traditionally, many Christians would have known a version of this prayer by heart, and used it every day. Make it your Advent Prayer!
give us grace to cast away the works of darkness
and to put on the armour of light,
now in the time of this mortal life,
in which your Son Jesus Christ came to us in great humility;
that on the last day,
when he shall come again in his glorious majesty
to judge the living and the dead,
we may rise to the life immortal;
through him who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen