Friday 9 February 2007

Friday Morning Prayer for 8 December 2006: Christmas is coming… 17 more days!

Warm-up: What would you be doing at Christmas? And how are you preparing for it?
Good Morning! Yes, 17 more days till Christmas! Aren’t you excited? I am. Welcome to another Friday Morning Prayer with me, Brother William. I feel like I must introduce myself again because I have noticed many students do not know who I am. So one more, I am Br. William. The short form for Brother is Br. So instead of writing Brother William, you can just write Br. William. The poet for today is by the name of Sr. Maryanna. The short form for Sister is Sr. The poem is known as Advent Prayer, an appropriate topic for today. If you remember from last week, we call the four weeks period before Christmas Advent. Please listen to Mr Mckenzie. Please pay attention to the meaning of the poem. Please try to think of to whom this poem is addressed. The poet, Sr. Maryanna is speaking to someone. Who is that person? [POEM.]
This poem is addressed to Our Lady, Mary, Mother of Jesus. The word thee in line 2, meaning you, refers to Mary and Him refers to Jesus. We know it has to be Jesus because this poem is about preparing for Christmas. The birth of Jesus is the focus of Christmas and the letter H in Him is capitalized because Jesus is God.
Although this poem is addressed to Mary, this poem is about Jesus and us. It is about making a room in our hearts of Jesus, as said in the fourth line. The word shrine means a very special house, mostly religious. It can be a church but it can be a temple too. For example: In Thailand, there are many famous shrines of Buddha where Buddhists go to worship. Some Chinese families keep a shrine to honour their ancestors at home, usually a red shelf with candles.
The first line of this poem talks about the foolish folk of old, i.e. the people in the past. If you remember the story of the birth of Jesus, this line refers to fact that when Mary and Joseph went to Bethlehem, they couldn’t find any room to stay. My dear teachers and students, do we all have a room in our hearts for Jesus? I hope we have the same desire to hold baby Jesus in our hearts.
Now, some interesting things about the English of this poem: Do you still remember what rhymes are? Rhymes are words that have similar sound.
The first language arts feature, which you should learn, is rhymes. The last word of each line rhymes with each other. The word be of the first line and the word thee of the second line rhyme with each other. Similarly, the word heart of the third line rhymes with the word apart of the fourth line. Can you all tell me which word in the fifth line rhymes with the word prayer in the sixth line? Yes, it’s care. Good! That means the proper pronunciation of the word prayer is not pray-er, like play-er but simply pr-air. Like air, stair, care, prayer. Let’s say these words altogether: air, stair, care, prayer. In the last stanza – that is the last paragraph of a poem – we have the rhyming words: start and heart. So the rhyming pattern of the poem is aa-bb-cc-bb: where aa means the words: be and thee; bb means the words heart, apart and start; and, cc means care and prayer.
The second language arts feature is the choice of words. You can see the modern equivalents at the right hand column.
Like foolish folk of old I would not be,
Who had no room that night for Him and thee.

See, Mother Mary, here within my heart
I've made a little shrine for Him apart;

Swept it of sin, and cleansed it with all care;
Warmed it with love and scented it with prayer.

So, Mother, when the Christmas anthems start,
Please let me hold your baby – in my heart.
I would not be like foolish folk in the past who had no room that night for Him and you.

See, Mother Mary, I have made a little church for Him here in my heart.

I have swept it of sin, cleaned it with all care, warmed it with love and made it smell good with prayer.

So, Mother, when the Christmas songs begin, please let me hold your baby in my heart.

From the hymn: O Come, Divine Messiah

Sweet Saviour haste (v.), come, come to earth; = Sweet Saviour come quickly, come to earth.

E.g. If you do your homework in haste (n.) (great speed), you will make mistakes.
In her haste to get up from the table, she knocked over a cup.His father had just died and he didn't want to marry with haste.

Let us pray.
Let your grace, Lord, light our journey in this life to the end.
Help us to prepare our heart for you.
Support us to sweep our heart clean, to cleanse our heart carefully,
to warm our heart with love and to make our heart smell good with prayers.
Please support us now and always as we wait, longing with all our hearts, for the coming of Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns forever and ever. Amen.

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