Fourth Sunday of Advent

image by Henry Ossawa Tanner

reflection by Thomas Kortus

Micah 5: 2-5a
Psalm 80
Hebrews 10: 5-10
Luke 1: 39-55


Purify our conscience, Almighty God, by your daily visitation,
that your Son Jesus Christ, at his coming, may find in us a
mansion prepared for himself; who lives and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

advent art tanner annunciation

Henry Ossawa Tanner (June 21, 1859 – May 25, 1937) was the first African-American painter to gain international acclaim. Tanner painted many biblical scenes and these paintings tend to humanize the holy. He brings the Bible down to earth. In The Annunciation, Mary looks more wistful than awestruck in the presence of the Holy Spirit, represented as an incandescent cloud.

I have been thinking a lot this week about how Christ came all those years ago and how he comes into our lives today. He comes humbly, profoundly, subtly at times, unexpectedly, and powerfully–all at the same time. He comes in very holy and spiritual ways and also in incredibly regular, everyday, earthbound ways. I love this painting of the Angel coming to Mary because it illustrates how God reveals himself to us in our ordinary, dingy, disorganized rooms, schedules, thoughts, lives.

“My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.

For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name.

And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm;he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts; he has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate; he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty.

He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his offspring forever.”

I encourage you to meditate on Mary’s Song from the readings this morning. I also want to share a song that I have been listening to a lot this Advent season. Listen to Let it be Born in Me by Wilder Adkins by clicking here.


Let it be born in me


Oh, this peace of which you speak

Let it be born in me

In Bethlehem city

Oh, the blessed mystery


Let it be born in me.


Oh, I want to be 

something new, something new

Oh my heart, it leaps

only for you, only for you.


Let it be born in me


Oh, the child Divinity

Let it be born in me

the blessed girl Mary

riding on the old donkey


Let it be born in me.


Oh, I want to lay

at your feet, heaven child

Oh, I want to live

truly free, running wild.


Let it be born in me


hope for eternity

Let it be born in me

the weight of humanity

hingeing on his majesty


Let it be born in me.

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Filed under Advent, Advent Devotional

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