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Word Made Flesh: Dwelling Amongst Books

5th Bunyip Lecture

Delivered at St Thomas' Bunyip

A certain philosopher questioned the Holy Antony: “How,” he said, “do you content yourself, Father, who is denied the comfort of books?” He answered, “My book, philosopher, is the nature of created things, and as often as I have a mind to read the words of God, it is at my hand.” Sayings of the Desert Fathers Book XXI

Today marks the beginning of Advent.

Many recent spiritual writers when reflecting on this season, offer reflections on the theme of waiting: waiting for the Word made flesh, for the Word to be born, for the coming of the Christ child. (Jane Williams / Malcolm Guite). The call to know ‘waiting’ is a very helpful tool into living these few weeks before Christmas. To consciously experience waiting steers our preoccupations away from the fast paced world of glitz and consumerism, manic busyness; it encourages us to align with something bigger, something which stills us, attunes us to the meaning of Advent.

In the Church cycle, we’re now entering the Year of Luke, and a few Saturdays ago, Melbourne theologian Dorothy Lee reminded us that praise is a keynote here; Luke’s is a ‘Gospel of messianic joy.’ Luke’s emphasis is universal salvation; it is laden with practical ethics and causes us reflection on moral living.

One way we’ve habitually come to express praise is through gift giving. In these few weeks of Advent many of us become preoccupied with ‘presents.’ What gift am I going to give someone - my husband, my daughter, family members on Christmas Day? Customers come into the Bookroom and purchase gifts, and Christmas cards, some look for a Kris Kringle gift under $10- for work breakups. Identifying persons who don’t receive gifts, the homeless, the marginalised, is another important part of our giving at Christmas.