Adam lay ybounden,
Bounden in a bond;
Four thousand winter
Thought he not too long.
And all was for an apple,
An apple that he took,
As clerkès finden
Written in their book.
Ne had the apple taken been,
The apple taken been,
Ne had never our lady
Abeen heavenè queen.
Blessèd be the time
That apple taken was,
Therefore we moun singen,
Adam waited for four thousand years, bound in the place of death until Christ came to free him with Eve and the rest of the patriarchs on Holy Saturday. The king our food who came in the manger will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead.
Advent calls for repentance, for purging, for purgatory on earth. We must strive to be worthy to receive him. What an honor to be a poor shepherd visited by angels in the sky. What an honor to be a sheep grazing in the cave. What an honor to be the great Mother of God, Mary most holy. Their honor brings us gain. The incarnation makes Christ more adorable. We can love him as a mother loves her child.
Il est né le divin enfant,
Jouez hautbois, résonnez musettes !
Il est né le divin enfant,
Chantons tous son avènement !
He is born, the Heav’nly Child,
Oboes play; set bagpipes sounding
He is born, the Heav’nly Child.
Let all sing His nativity.
The image of Madonna and Child has power because it shows God’s descent into helplessness. He took on flesh and drank milk from the breast. For our sakes he who had riches took on poverty. The maker of the universe learned carpentry from his earthly father. He became a fashioner of wood who would later die on a piece of wood.
We must strive to imitate our spiritual mother, Mary, and not our fleshly mother, Eve. As Eve received condemnation for taking the fruit off the tree, so Mary garners blessing for mankind by putting the fruit of her womb back on the tree. Eve’s choice brings us damnation while Mary’s fiat ushers in salvation.
Zechariah received the news of John the Baptist with a heard heart, but Mary heard Gabriel’s words with a soft heart. We beat the breast when we say Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa to break our hearts of stone that God may replace them with hearts of flesh. We must be born again, washed clean of original sin.
At the end of time every knee will bow before the Son. Let us bend the knee by the manger in preparation for that day. Every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. Let us laud him now. Adeste fideles. The alternative to joy is damnation, of which Jesus warns in Luke:
There will be signs in the sun and moon and stars; on earth nations in agony, bewildered by the clamour of the ocean and its waves; men dying of fear as they await what menaces the world, for the powers of heaven will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place, stand erect, hold your heads high, because your liberation is near at hand.
When we see terrifying signs of the Messiah, we should take joy. The turmoil around us will become destruction on our heads if we do not obey him and repent. Jesus proceeds to preach:
Watch yourselves, or your hearts will be coarsened with debauchery and drunkenness and the cares of life, and that day will be sprung on you suddenly, like a trap. For it will come down on every living man on the face of the earth. Stay awake, praying at all times for the strength to survive all that is going to happen, and to stand with confidence before the Son of Man.
Advent calls for incessant prayers for ourselves and others lest we fall away. We must prepare if we wish to rejoice.