Stir up your power, O Lord, and with great might come among us; and, because we are sorely hindered by our sins, let your bountiful grace and mercy speedily help and deliver us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory, now and for ever. Amen.
The Third Sunday in Advent is sometimes called "Stir Up" Sunday, because the collect for this Sunday is the one above...calling on God to stir up God's great power and come among us.
I like to think that we too are being called on to "stir up"...not our material preparation for Christmas, but our spiritual preparation for the coming of Christ into our lives, our world and our hearts.
In the Old Testament lesson, Isaiah 35. 1 - 10, we are reminded of God's promise to the Babylonian exiles of redemption and restoration, symbolized by flowers in the desert.
The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad,
the desert shall rejoice and blossom; like the crocus it shall blossom abundantly,and rejoice with joy and singing.
Here's another way to approach Advent...where do we need to be stirred up? Where are our deserts? and as we count the days until the Birth, where are we beginning to see flowers in what we once knew as deserts?
and best of all, what new journey will we be on when Christ is born into our hearts, our lives and our world and the deserts are full of flowers and the ground is no longer parched. Now that will be a Christmas miracle!