Love Came Down: Anglican Readings for Advent and Christmas

Love Came Down: Anglican Readings for Advent and Christmas

by Christopher L. Webber

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"Easter Day is the center and crown of the Christian year, but no season of that year provides us with richer material for meditation than Advent and the twelve days of Christmas." So writes Christopher Webber in this thoughtful and inspiring collection of meditations from the most gifted Anglican writers of the past six hundred years.

Love Came Down draws on the

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"Easter Day is the center and crown of the Christian year, but no season of that year provides us with richer material for meditation than Advent and the twelve days of Christmas." So writes Christopher Webber in this thoughtful and inspiring collection of meditations from the most gifted Anglican writers of the past six hundred years.

Love Came Down draws on the best sermons, books, poems, and hymns by these writers, with a reading for every day in Advent and for each of the twelve days of Christmas. Writers include Christina Rossetti, R. W. Church, F. D. Maurice, John Donne, Jeremy Taylor, Madeleine L'Engle, Phillips Brooks, John Keble, William Temple, Thomas Traherne, William Law, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and many others. Brief biographies of the contributors are included.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Webber's collection of Anglican readings for Advent and the 12 days of Christmas is a feast for the mind and the heart. He acknowledges in the introduction that some readers might be surprised at the "dark themes" in the liturgy during the four weeks leading up to Christmas, because our culture wants the whole season of Christmas to be a whirl of gift-giving and parties. But he says we must invest in serious thought, inner repentance and spiritual preparation before we are ready to celebrate Christ's birth. The readings come from a host of Anglicans, including Madeleine L'Engle, John Donne, Christina Rossetti, Phillips Brooks and Dorothy Sayers. Pensive readers who are willing to dig deeply into the riches of the season will welcome this book as a guide to observing Advent as a period of solemnity and hope. (Sept.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

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Church Publishing, Incorporated
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Love Came Down

Anglican Readings for Advent and Christmas


Church Publishing Incorporated

Copyright © 2002Christopher Webber
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-8192-1898-8




Daily Readings

Almighty God, give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness, and put upon us the armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which thy Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the quick and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, now and for ever. Amen.

—The Advent Collect, Book of Common Prayer

    The Advent Collect

    (paraphrased as a sonnet)

    Almighty Lord and everlasting God,
    Come in the silence of our human night
    And give us grace that we may cast away
    The works of darkness; from eternal day
    Now send to us the armor of your light;
    In this brief mortal life protect and guard
    Your people whom, in great humility,
    Our Savior Christ once visited, that when
    On that last day in glorious majesty
    To judge the quick and dead he comes again,
    We, from our earthbound weaknesses may rise,
    Rise to immortal life, unending days,
    Through him whose life in Trinity supplies
    Now and forever your eternal praise.

    Christopher L. Webber


A reading from The Crown of the Year by Austin Farrer.

Our journey sets out from God in our creation, and returns to God at the final judgement. As the bird rises from the earth to fly, and must some time return to the earth from which it rose; so God sends us forth to fly, and we must fall back into the hands of God at last. But God does not wait for the failure of our power and the expiry of our days to drop us back into his lap. He goes himself to meet us and everywhere confronts us. Where is the countenance which we must finally look in the eyes, and not be able to turn away our head? It smiles up at Mary from the cradle, it calls Peter from the nets, it looks on him with grief when he has denied his master. Our judge meets us at every step of our way, with forgiveness on his lips and succor in his hands. He offers us these things while there is yet time. Every day opportunity shortens, our scope for learning our Redeemer's love is narrowed by twenty-four hours, and we come nearer to the end of our journey, when we shall fall into the hands of the living God, and touch the heart of the devouring fire.

Advent brings Christmas, judgement runs out into mercy. For the God who saves us and the God who judges us is one God. We are not, even, condemned by his severity and redeemed by his compassion; what judges us is what redeems us, the love of God. What is it that will break our hearts on judgement day? Is it not the vision, suddenly unrolled, of how he has loved the friends we have neglected, of how he has loved us, and we have not loved him in return; how, when we came before his altar, he gave us himself, and we gave him half-penitences, or resolutions too weak to commit our wills? But while love thus judges us by being what it is, the same love redeems us by effecting what it does. Love shares flesh and blood with us in this present world, that the eyes which look us through at last may find in us a better substance than our vanity.

Advent is a coming, not our coming to God, but his to us. We cannot come to God, he is beyond our reach; but he can come to us, for we are not beneath his mercy. Even in another life, as St. John sees it in his vision, we do not rise to God, but he descends to us, and dwells humanly among human creatures, in the glorious man, Jesus Christ. And that will be his last coming; so we shall be his people, and he everlastingly our God, our God-with-us, our Emmanuel. He will so come, but he is come already, he comes always: in our fellow-Christian (even in a child, says Christ), in his Word, invisibly in our souls, more visibly in this sacrament. Opening ourselves to him, we call him in: Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord; O come, Emmanuel.

Our judge meets us at every step of our way.


A reading from a sermon on the Gospel for the Second Sunday in Advent by Hugh Latimer on the text: "There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on the earth ..." St. Luke 21:25

There are some who think that there shall be great eclipses, against the course of nature; and you know that there have been strange things seen in the elements many times. Sometimes there has been seen a ring about the sun; sometimes there have been seen three suns at once; and such like things have been seen in times past: which no doubt signifies that this fearful day is not far off in which Christ will come with his heavenly host, to judge and reward every one of us according to our desserts.

"People will faint from fear and foreboding" (Luke 21:26); people will be wonderfully fearful; they will pine away for fear: and no doubt they will be good people who will be thus troubled, with such a fear of this day: for you know the worldlings care not for that day; yes, they will scant believe that there will be such a day, that there will be another world, or at the least they would not wish that there will be another world. And no doubt there have been here in England many already, who have been so vexed and turmoiled with such fear.

Therefore let us begin to strive and fight now with sin: let us not set all our hearts and minds upon this world; for no doubt this day, whenever it will come, will be wonderfully fearful to all mankind, and especially to the wicked. There will be great alterations at that day; there will be hurly burly, such as you see when someone dies. So will it be at this fearful, horrible day: there will be such alterations of the earth, and the elements; they will lose their former nature, and be endued with another nature.

"Then they will see 'the Son of Man coming in a cloud' with power and great glory (Luke 21:27). Certain it is, that he shall come to judge, but we cannot tell the time when he will come: therefore, seeing that he will come, let us make ready, lest he find us unprepared. And take this for a rule, that as he finds us, so he will judge us. St. Paul says to the Thessalonians, when he speaks of the resurrection of the good, that on the same day the trumpet will blow, and all will rise who died since the world began; "then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up in the clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the air" (I Thes. 4:17). All those, I say, who are content to strive and fight with sin, who will not be ruled by sin, these will in this way be taken up in the air and meet with Christ, and so will come down with him again. But as for the other sort, who are wicked, and have a delight in wickedness, and will not leave it, but rather go forward in all mischief, they will be left upon the earth with the devils, until they are judged. And after they have received their sentence, they will go to hell with the devil and all his angels, and there be punished for their sins in hellish fire, world without end. I pray God, that we may be of the number of those, who will hear this joyful and most comfortable voice of Christ our Savior when he will say, "Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the f

Excerpted from Love Came Down by CHRISTOPHER L. WEBBER. Copyright © 2002 by Christopher Webber. Excerpted by permission of Church Publishing Incorporated.
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