A little elf knocked on my front door the other day…

SUNDAY 20 December 2020                                             

FOURTH SUNDAY OF ADVENT

 

2 Samuel 7.1-11 + 16

1 After the king was settled in his palace and the Lord had given him rest from all his enemies around him, he said to Nathan the prophet, ‘Here I am, living in a house of cedar, while the ark of God remains in a tent.’ Nathan replied to the king, ‘Whatever you have in mind, go ahead and do it, for the Lord is with you.’

But that night the word of the Lord came to Nathan, saying:

‘Go and tell my servant David, “This is what the Lord says: are you the one to build me a house to dwell in? I have not dwelt in a house from the day I brought the Israelites up out of Egypt to this day. I have been moving from place to place with a tent as my dwelling. Wherever I have moved with all the Israelites, did I ever say to any of their rulers whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel, ‘Why have you not built me a house of cedar?’” ‘Now then, tell my servant David, “This is what the Lord Almighty says: I took you from the pasture, from tending the flock, and appointed you ruler over my people Israel. I have been with you wherever you have gone, and I have cut off all your enemies from before you. Now I will make your name great, like the names of the greatest men on earth. 10 And I will provide a place for my people Israel and will plant them so that they can have a home of their own and no longer be disturbed. Wicked people shall not oppress them any more, as they did at the beginning 11 and have done ever since the time I appointed leaders over my people Israel. I will also give you rest from all your enemies.‘ “The Lord declares to you that the Lord himself will establish a house for you:

16 Your house and your kingdom shall endure for ever before me; your throne shall be established for ever.”’

 

Luke 1.26-38

26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, ‘Greetings, you who are highly favoured! The Lord is with you.’

29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favour with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 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, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants for ever; his kingdom will never end.’

34 ‘How will this be,’ Mary asked the angel, ‘since I am a virgin?’

35 The angel answered, ‘The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. 36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. 37 For no word from God will ever fail.’

38 ‘I am the Lord’s servant,’ Mary answered. ‘May your word to me be fulfilled.’ Then the angel left her.

 

Reflection

 

A little elf knocked on my front door the other day…

 

Well to be fair it was quite a large elf… taller than me in fact. 

Which was extremely disappointing because the only things in the world that I am generally taller than are children up to the age of ten - and elves.

 

This was a particularly charming elf, greeting me animatedly with a few well-chosen words - ‘Ello Vicarage! ‘ere ya’.

 

From that opening gambit, I took a guess that the elf was probably originally from South London, and that he had watched the TV comedy programme “Rev”.  He obviously meant…’Hello Vicar, Here you are!’ because he reinforced his cheery words by handing me a large brown cardboard parcel fastened with distinctive black sticky tape.

 

Ah so, one of the Amazon elves then!

 

I got chatting, as you do, and complimented him on his stylish and eye-catching outfit, complete with green face-covering and a spring of artificial holly tucked rakishly in the ear loop. He lowered his voice to a confidential tone.  ‘Well Vicarage’ he said in a low voice, glancing round to make sure no-one was listening ‘I thought about it, and I decided that for a lot of customers, I’m the only person they might see all day - all week even!  When they see my silly get-up, it gives them a smile. A bit like your silly get-up!!’ He pointed at my dog collar and winked. I let that small sacrilege pass and told him that he was doing a great job. He further confided that he was actually quite enjoying himself, and it made the long days go quicker!

 

So God bless you, dear Amazon Elf, for the smiles that you are drawing out of lonely or troubled people as you hand over those packages.

 

And what, you may ask, has this rather ordinary incident got to do with our bible reading today? You might suspect that the Rambling Rector has taken a Christmas Break from doing in-depth bible exposition.  And you might well be right!  I only know that I had to tell you about my elf because he seems to be a sign of hope and the quiet power of kindness - and we need as many of those as we can find in this dark and confusing world.

 

Have a good Christmas.


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