12 As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. 13 Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as The Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful.
Colossians 3:12-15

Today’s thought from Nouwen tells us to keep our eyes on the Prince of Peace, who becomes poor with the poor, weak with the weak. Some days I struggle to see the link between the Advent writing and the accompanying scriptural quote. Today’s is, I think, a lot clearer. We are to become compassionate, kind, humble, meek and patient. Phew! Not a big ask, is it?

However big an ask it might be, it does lead to thinking about the babe lying in a manger. Not, perhaps, the sometimes trite pictures we see on greeting cards. But a meek, helpless newborn, crying out to be loved as all newborns do. Perhaps this is what we should take from the Mary thought from a couple of days back that some of the #adventbookclubstruggled with? That instead of asking “what will I get from loving Jesus?” we should just give in to our instinctive reaction to take the baby Jesus and hold him close. We don’t question what a newborn can offer us – we just know. Can we do the same for our Saviour?

Today’s prayer calls on us to make our way (metaphorically) to Bethlehem to see the humility of the stable.

Today’s action calls for us to seek out some advent serenity in music. I could recommend the music I’ve already recommended in days 2, 5, 7 and 10. But, if you’re after something a bit less, well, choral, I have to confess to loving Mary Chapin Carpenter’s album Come Darkness, Come Light: Twelve Songs of Christmas. Today’s choice then is the title track from that album. Enjoy.

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