The Invitation

Opening prayer

O Rising Dawn,
Radiance of the Light eternal and Sun of Justice:
come and enlighten those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death.
O Antiphon

Promise and crossing thresholds

But the angel said to her, 'Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favour with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.' (Luke 1:29 -33)

Love bade me welcome; yet my soul drew back,
Guilty of dust and sin
But quick-eyed Love, observing me grow slack
From my first entrance in,
Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning,
If I lacked anything,
(Love, George Herbert)

The Cestello Annunciation, Sandro Botticelli, 1489

The Cestello Annunciation, Sandro Botticelli, 1489


These are heady words passed on to Mary. I wonder if Mary was more or less confused after the angel spoke again. Maybe even more, but I expect she was comforted too. We all need to hear 'don't be afraid' or 'God is pleased' with you at times.

I wonder if you have ever had good news. Heard an exciting promise? Imagine how Mary felt, a young peasant girl – your son will be a king, not just any king but the greatest king of all. I wonder if God chose such a young person because somehow children and young people believe in exciting things, wilder things more easily. Maybe an older person would have said – I don’t think so, or I imagine he really means a very good carpenter!

Drawing back and being drawn to.  Who it is that invites us to a threshold matters.  What the promise is on the other side matters also.  Whether we believe them.  'Don't be afraid'.  'God is pleased with you'. These influence our movement, our drawing back or being drawn on.

Closing question

Imagine God says to you 'don't be afraid' or 'I am pleased with you'. Many people are asking just now 'What do I want for Christmas?' Here’s a new question to ask your self 'What might God want to give me just now or draw you into?' Close your eyes imagine God is standing before you, he asks you to stretch out your hands, and he takes something from his pocket to and places it in your hands. What does he give you?

Kirsty Hook