We give you thanks, O God, because your name is near. All speak of your majestic deeds; your voice we also hear:
“I choose the appointed time; I judge with justice sure. When earth and all its people quake, its pillars I secure.
“ ‘Boast not!’ I tell the proud; the wicked I address: ‘‘Do not lift up your heads with pride, or speak with haughtiness’.”
No one in all the earth can truly give renown. God is the judge; he raises one and puts another down.
The LORD’s hand holds a cup with wine of powerful blend; He pours it out, and wicked ones must drink it to the end.
God’s works I will proclaim, and Jacob’s God I’ll praise. The wicked’s strength I will destroy; the righteous I will raise.
This start of the Church’s Year. Advent – a time of preparation, reflection and waiting. A time when my thoughts usually turn to Luke’s gospel – to Mary in her eighth month of pregnancy – probably preparing for a long journey to Bethlehem, knowing her baby will be born away from home. Mary reflecting on how she came to be in this situation as she waits for the birth of the Son of God. Mary is on the threshold.
At Advent we are a bit like Mary, we are on the threshold of Christmas. I was brought to this thinking a few years ago on a retreat day where we were encouraged to think about thresholds. We are on the threshold of the here and now, we look back to the past and look forward to the future. So appropriate for this time of Advent.
We remember the Mary of Luke’s gospel, a young woman, on the threshold of motherhood, meeting Elizabeth and her wonderful song of praise. Is the writer of Psalm 75 on the threshold of something new? Some new revelation? Certainly, the Magnificat is reminiscent of this Psalm. In Psalm 75 we have something of the majesty of God, something of the wicked being destroyed and the righteous being lifted up, something that Mary remembered in her song of praise with Elisabeth. And something that could stay with us at this time of Advent.
Lord God of thresholds, Help us, to take time to reflect and pray this Christmas time. Help us, like the Psalmist to see your majesty in the hustle and bustle of it all. Help us, in the looking forward not to miss out on the peace that is our gift from you. Help us to remember the words of St Paul so that we don’t worry about anything but pray about everything and remember to say “thank you.” Amen
The Rev’d Lena Talbot. Retired Minister of the Lancashire Missional Partnership