Life is full of surprises. One surprise I had this week was discovering that the phrase in the first reading, ‘The Lord is your midst’, literally means ‘The Lord is in your womb’. As a man, I can only try to imagine what it feels like to have a new life growing within you, but it gives a whole new way of understanding Advent. Just as Mary’s body was the place where Jesus took flesh, where he grew through nine months until he could be born into the home of Mary and Joseph, from which he could venture out into the world he was going to save, so now we, the Church, are the place where he is growing, waiting to be born again, through us, into the world which he still needs to save.
Another wonderful surprise this week was a poem that one of our Year 5 classes wrote as part of their reflection on what Pope Francis calls ‘our common home’ – the world and how we live in it.
I dream of a world…
I want to live in a world where everyone plays. I dream of a world where nobody hates.
The gardens of the world are all so very near. Why should any of us have to live in fear?
The borders of countries like fences they stand. What happened to together? To lending a hand?
I want to live in a world, which works in unity together.
I dream of a world where it doesn’t matter whether you’re born in this garden, that one, or some other.
After all- the world is like everybody’s mother.
I want to live in a world where politics are fair, not to be based on greed and despair.
As children of God, our parents and the Earth, why is it so hard to believe in the truth?
We are all so very special, different in our ways – languages, traditions – all bound together like a maze.
I dream of a world where living out our lives is done with love and respect, which survives longer than a week, a month or a year.
Where nobody – ever – will have to live in fear.
Think about what kind of world you dream of, and remember that Jesus is growing within you, waiting to be born through you to make that world a reality.