Advent prayer: We didn’t expect you so soon

As we join in solidarity with the peoples of the world, we pray in the voices of its women and men, its intersex and genderqueer, in the voices of the marginalised and of the empowered.

We didn’t expect an angel. We didn’t expect a vision, or ravishing. We didn’t expect our prayers to be answered. We didn’t expect you so soon.

Like Mary, we didn’t expect an angel—yet into our lives come strangers who challenge and inspire. Like Elizabeth, we didn’t really expect our prayers to be answered; after all this time, we didn’t believe. Yet, like Hannah, like Sarai, the words become flesh; love comes into our lives, and our sacrifice is worth it.

Like Mary—who didn’t expect Joseph to defy convention—we find we are honoured and loved unreservedly; sometimes, it seems, undeservedly. We didn’t expect to be dumbstruck—but we heard the good news: “Love boldly,” we heard; “be fully human—no more, nor less, than yourself”, and it overwhelmed us.

We weren’t expecting you so soon. It was one of those hopes for the future… like “let’s get together” or “Next year in Jerusalem”. Our return from exile, to the land of our mothers, to a city of peace—the ideal we’ve been struggling to reach, and suddenly—we are here!

We didn’t expect you to sneak into our lives in the guise of a child with big brown eyes and a heart-breaking smile. We didn’t expect the voice of a neighbour, the hug of a colleague, the gentle squeeze of an aged parent’s hand to touch us profoundly, and fill our hearts with awe.

And yet, Creator Spirit, you fill us with power. You impregnate us with hope, and the hope becomes faith and the faith becomes living. And your offspring of generosity and healing overflows our fear, our amazement, our wonder, and spills into the world.


Image credits © bronwyn angela white (2017), Kāpiti, New Zealand