This picture comes from a book that is due to be published about now. If you click the link under the header for this posting you'll get the details. It's from a story by Jackie Morris. But before I write any more about that, a little ...
Housekeeping regarding the posada chainblog:
at the end of this posting is a list of the people who have offered to host the blog posada. Please scroll on down for dates, names and a reminder of how to administer the transfers in an orderly manner.
For my Posada reflection I want to think about the picture. Later on people may reflect on all kinds of aspects of the theme of offering room to the holy couple, but here I shall say something about the choice of picture. I looked at loads of images and of all I saw, this was the one that drew me most. I think it is a combination of the colour palette and the style of design. It reminds me of children's story books -which is the intended use of picture. But the reason that's has drawn me is to do with the resonances of Advent and Christmas for me: a lot of the emotional underlay is from childhood. And yet the picture isn't over-sentimental either: Mary is dozing and obviously pregnant. This is no plaster-Saint Mary but a truly pregnant young woman on a long and wearying journey. The donkey looks weariest of all and is that a look of resigned determination on Joseph's face? It's night, it looks frosty, the stars are out, it's likely to be cold. The fact that they are travelling at night bespeaks trying to make good time to their destination. This is no comfortable journey, this is not a leisured journey.
I find the composition interesting too: there's something of an empty centre with the human figures at either end and the space above the donkey's back. An empty space inviting us to fill it with our thoughts and responses. Or an empty space inviting us to let be the space, to allow ourselves to be carried by the donkey and find, in the wearying rush leading up to the Nativity, the possibility of being carried, the permission to doze. The child being carried will one day say ""Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest." But for the moment, he is himself the heavy burden.
And I reflect that sometimes carrying Christ [which is the vocation of all Christians; we are Christ carriers] has been sometimes and is at times a heavy burden. In those times it may be that the gifts of God's common grace; gifts in creation; gifts of people and animals and matter; are what helps us to shoulder the burden. Sometimes we look for 'supernatural' means when the more ordinary is God's chosen minister. Sometimes when it seems that Christ is the burden, we can be tempted to think that we are, therefore, out of options. Yet it may be at those times that we can find God meets us in the chance to doze amid the busy-ness, or in the kindness of strangers who offer room for us on the way.
Prayer: Blessed are you God who gave Sabbath and who gives us rest; holy is your name.
May the Rest of your fulfillment be brought into the formless haste of this lost and panicked world.
Teach us to accept rest and give us your calmness and serenity.
Forgive us the pursuit of self-justification by busyness as we release others from gratifying our desire for apparent control.
And when we are caught up in hurry, teach us to resist the hurry of our restless world not to let it deform our souls.
Housekeeping (interesting metaphor eh?)
All being well, tomorrow's posting is due at Chris Munroe's blog, Paradoxology
I have simply tried to put hosts in order of offering. You'll notice we get as far as 22 Dec so further recruitment or even offering to host a further reflection on another of your blogs is great.
Swaps are okay provided the chain of reference from one host to the next is not broken. Remember that the previous or next person in the chain may not know who you are so your predecessor will need a visit from you as soon after you have posted as you can manage to put a link in their comments so the rest of us can follow the trail to your posting.
I suggest that everyone links to this 'originating" Advent Sunday post, so that it is easy to get back here in case there are new posters whom I shall add to the list. Could I also ask you to email me if you think that I don't have your email address at this temporary (for the next few days) email address as I don't have everyone's contact details in case we need to do some troubleshooting. If you would check the blog addresses -I've made some educated guesses below- I can put corrections in here so people can get in the right vicinity if something goes awry.
Tue 5 Dec Jem Clines
Wed 6 Dec Alistair
Thu 7 Dec Lydia
Fri 8 Dec Jennie Swanson
Sat 9 Dec Psalmist
Sun 10 Dec Dr Platypus
Mon 11 Dec Sally Coleman
Tue 12 Dec Jim Palmer
Wed 13 Dec Anne Gogh
Thu 14 Dec Weekend Fisher
Fri 15 Dec Dave
Sat 16 Dec John Cooper
Sun 17 Dec Sue Wallace at Abbess
Mon 18 Dec Lucas
Tue 19 Joanna at Keeping Feet
Wed 20 Adrian at Emerging Church info.
Thu 21 Ian Mobsy at Mootblog
Fri 22 Bob Carlton
Sat 23 Chelley at Chelley's Teapot
Sun24 Me again this time at Abbey Nous but I'm willing to give way to another offer ...