Advent Daybook, 19: The world is about to turn

My Advent daybook for these 24 days of waiting. Join me, won't you? (see previous Advent daybook 2017 posts here)

*Note: If you're reading this in email, the formatting usually looks much better at the website. Just click the post title to get there.*

 Some of the 82 released Chibok girls before a meeting with Nigeria's President at the Presidential Villa in Abuja. (Islamist militants of the Boko Haram group released 82 schoolgirls from a group of 276 they abducted in north-eastern Nigeria three years ago.), May 2017. AFP ( source )

Some of the 82 released Chibok girls before a meeting with Nigeria's President at the Presidential Villa in Abuja. (Islamist militants of the Boko Haram group released 82 schoolgirls from a group of 276 they abducted in north-eastern Nigeria three years ago.), May 2017. AFP (source)

music for today: "Canticle of the Turning", Emmaus Way  (lyrics)

Spotify | YouTube

The Messenger-Angel again called me to attention. It was like being wakened out of deep sleep.

He said, “What do you see?”

I answered, “I see a lampstand of solid gold with a bowl on top. Seven lamps, each with seven spouts, are set on the bowl. And there are two olive trees, one on either side of the bowl.”

Then I asked the Messenger-Angel, “What does this mean, sir?”

The Messenger-Angel said, “Can’t you tell?”

“No, sir,” I said.

Then he said, “This is God’s Message to Zerubbabel: ‘You can’t force these things. They only come about through my Spirit,’ says God-of-the-Angel-Armies. ‘So, big mountain, who do you think you are? Next to Zerubbabel you’re nothing but a molehill. He’ll proceed to set the Cornerstone in place, accompanied by cheers: Yes! Yes! Do it!’”

After that, the Word of God came to me: “Zerubbabel started rebuilding this Temple and he will complete it. That will be your confirmation that God-of-the-Angel-Armies sent me to you. Does anyone dare despise this day of small beginnings? They’ll change their tune when they see Zerubbabel setting the last stone in place!”


The God of gods—it’s God!—speaks out, shouts, “Earth!”
welcomes the sun in the east,
farewells the disappearing sun in the west.
From the dazzle of Zion,
God blazes into view.
Our God makes his entrance,
he’s not shy in his coming.
Starbursts of fireworks precede him.

He summons heaven and earth as a jury,
he’s taking his people to court:
“Round up my saints who swore
on the Bible their loyalty to me.”

The whole cosmos attests to the fairness of this court,
that here God is judge.”


”I saw a scroll in the right hand of the One Seated on the Throne. It was written on both sides, fastened with seven seals. I also saw a powerful Angel, calling out in a voice like thunder, “Is there anyone who can open the scroll, who can break its seals?”

There was no one—no one in Heaven, no one on earth, no one from the underworld—able to break open the scroll and read it.

I wept and wept and wept that no one was found able to open the scroll, able to read it. One of the Elders said, “Don’t weep. Look—the Lion from Tribe Judah, the Root of David’s Tree, has conquered. He can open the scroll, can rip through the seven seals.”


“God’s kingdom is like ten young virgins who took oil lamps and went out to greet the bridegroom. Five were silly and five were smart. The silly virgins took lamps, but no extra oil. The smart virgins took jars of oil to feed their lamps. The bridegroom didn’t show up when they expected him, and they all fell asleep.

“In the middle of the night someone yelled out, ‘He’s here! The bride-groom’s here! Go out and greet him!’

“So stay alert. You have no idea when he might arrive.
— Zechariah 4:1-10, Psalm 50:1-6, Revelation 5:1-5, Matthew 25:1-6,13 (MSG)

* Sunday Scripture readings are taken from the Revised Common Lectionary (Year B). Daily Scripture readings are taken from the Book of Common Prayer (Year 2).

prayer for today:

Sacrifice thank offerings to God, fulfill your vows to the Most High, and call on me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me. Psalm 50:14–15, NIV

Dear Father in heaven, we want to praise you together and to thank you with all our hearts for your goodness and your deliverance from our many needs. Accept our thanks, and help us go on our way with ever joyful hearts. Make us ready for whatever you have prepared for us, your children. Bless us in our individual lives and bless us in our community. Let your Spirit shed its rays into all places to comfort people’s hearts and to restore and strengthen their faith. May your name be praised forevermore. Amen.
— Christoph Friedrich Blumhardt (1842–1919), via



G.K. Chesterton has taught my family more about the true spirit of celebrating Christmas than almost any other teacher. (I've written about these lessons here, here, here, and here.) Above all, this theologian/social critic/blustery Englishman insists that we Christians learn the discipline of not taking ourselves too seriously. 

Here's a couple examples from Advent and Christmas Wisdom from G.K. Chesterton:

"You cannot be too solemn about golf to be a good golfer; you can be a great deal too solemn about Christianity to be a good Christian. You may put into your neckties solemnity, and nothing but solemnity, because neckties are not the whole of your life—at least, I hope not. But in anything that does cover the whole of your life—in your philosophy and your religion—you must have mirth. If you do not have mirth, you will certainly have madness." (Lunacy and Letters)
People are losing the power to enjoy Christmas though identifying it with enjoyment. When once they lose sight of the old suggestion that it is all about something, they naturally fall into blank pauses of wondering what it is all about. To be told to rejoice on Christmas day is reasonable and intelligible, if you understand the name, or even look at the word. To be told to rejoice on the twenty-fifth of December is like being told to rejoice at quarter-past eleven on Thursday week. You cannot suddenly be frivolous unless you believe there is a serious reason for being frivolous.  (“The New War on Christmas,” G.K.’s Weekly, December 26, 1925, quoted in Brave New Family.)

p.s., I'd love to hear what makes you laugh? Drop me a comment below.

(see all Advent daybook posts from 2016 here)