Fourth Sunday of Advent, December 20
The Most Holy Child Asks That We Approach His Most Tender and Sacred Heart with All That We Carry Within Us, Both Joys and Sorrows, That We Not Hesitate to Share with Him All Our Feelings in This Most Holy Season.
“I will raise up your heir after you…I will be a father to him, and he shall be a son to me. Your house and your kingdom shall endure forever before me; your throne shall stand firm forever.”
– a prophecy given by God to the prophet Nathan for King David some one thousand years before the birth of Christ, a promise from our First Reading today which speaks of God’s desire to always be present for His children and that His Kingdom will endure throughout the ages and for all eternity thereafter!
And, in today’s Gospel, we hear from Luke an echo of this same prophecy, now given to Mary by the Archangel Gabriel, “Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
And to this Heavenly announcement, Mary give her unqualifying yes, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” And since that holy moment in time, the world has never been the same! For it was from that moment forward that God, in the Person of the Eternal Word, became Incarnate for our salvation and eternal happiness!
Today, in spite of all that we witness occurring throughout the world, in spite of all the naysayers who wish to remove Christ from Christmas and relegate this Most Holy Day to just a secular holiday, you and I are given the special grace of realizing the true wonder of this most wondrous occasion!
Throughout the world, wherever families celebrate the true spirit and meaning of Christmas, crèches are on display, lights and decorations are hung – all in festive anticipation of the Divine Light who will come to be born in our midst! For He is the Holy Child who will, one day, take upon Himself our sinful nature and offer it to our Heavenly Father, all so that, with the help of His grace, we may share eternal life with Him in His Eternal Kingdom!
The imagery of this most joyous season cannot help but to uplift our spirits, even for those who are overwhelmed with sadness due to circumstances in life which are beyond our control, for it is truly a season which fills us with an abiding and unshakable hope in the wonder of God’s Love.
I know this from where I speak, since I personally have realized this profound truth. It was many years ago, after twenty-five years of marriage, that I lost my wife due to a massive stroke only two months before Christmas. Yet, when the season of Advent arrived, I knew I needed to put up the tree at Christmas time. It was something we did together, and I knew she would want me to continue this tradition, in spite of the sadness and emptiness which I felt inside.
Oftentimes, when life’s experiences strike us hard, what our heart feels is different from what we know to be true with our minds. In other words, even though my heart was not into setting up the tree and decorations, my mind knew it was the right thing to do.
And it was my faith in God, and remembering my wife’s deep love for the faith which we shared together, which gave hope to a heart which felt empty and alone. And it was the words of Sacred Scripture which brought everything into focus for me – words which we find in our First Reading today, “I will be a father to him, and he shall be a son to me.”
And knowing that we are all children of the same Eternal Father, that we are all called to be co-heirs with Christ, those words took on a much more meaningful significance when I reflected upon the life we had together. And I slowly began to understand that those profound words also took on a much deeper meaning within all that I was feeling, “I will be a father to [her], and [she] shall be a [daughter] to me.” – for the Scriptures are the Living Word of God and they speak to us constantly of the mind and the will of God in our lives.
It is how we perceive our faith and the depth of love which God has for each and every one of us, that we begin to realize that Christmas is the season of love and hope and true joy, where the Holy Child wipes away our tears and beckons us to kneel at the foot of the manger, so that He may smile upon each and every one of us.
The holy imagery of Christmas, for all whose hearts are opened and accepting of this season of God’s Love, is truly without comparison!
No matter in what circumstances we may find ourselves in life, whether we are healthy or sick, joyful or grief-stricken, working or unemployed, with family and friends or feeling all alone – this is truly the season in which the Son of God freely left His Glorious Throne to become like you and me in all ways except sin.
And Jesus grew to experience both wonderful joys and extreme sorrows. And He took these experiences with Him to His Kingdom, so that He would intimately understand what we endure deep within our own hearts and souls here on this side of Heaven.
This Most Holy Child upon whom we gaze, lying in a manger on a cold winter’s night – He asks that we approach His Most Tender and Sacred Heart with all that we carry within us, both joys and sorrows, that we not hesitate to share with Him all our feelings. For He is not only our God, He is also our dearest and Most Loving Father and Brother, who is ALWAYS at our side, in both good times and bad!
On this last Sunday of Advent, may we seek intimacy in our life with our God, for it is the spirit of Christmas which reminds us of God’s Love. It is the spirit of Christmas which helps us grow in our relationship with the Divine Child who came to us, so that we may have eternal life with Him – a life filled with love, a life filled with peace and never-ending joy.
In the words of Saint Paul from our Second Reading today, and from our hearts filled with faith and love, may his words of praise become our own, “…to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ be glory forever and ever. Amen.”
May God bless you, God love you, and may God always keep you. †
Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.
Por favor Comente, Le Gusta y Comparta, y Sugiera a tus amigos en Facebook – en difundir el mensaje del Misericordioso Amor de Dios.
Scripture for the Day
- “…I will raise up your offspring after you, sprung from your loins, and I will establish his kingdom. He it is who shall build a house for my name, and I will establish his royal throne forever…I will be a father to him, and he shall be a son to me…Your house and your kingdom are firm forever before me; your throne shall be firmly established forever.” (2 Samuel 7:12b-13, 14a, 16)
- “Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” (Luke 1:31-33)
- “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38)
- “The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if only we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.” (Romans 8:16-17)
- “In this way the love of God was revealed to us: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might have life through him. In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as expiation for our sins.” (1 John 4:9-10)
- “I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.” (John 14:18)
- “…learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart.” (Matthew 11:29bc)
- “Now to him who can strengthen you…to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ be glory forever and ever. Amen.” (Romans 16:25a, 27)
Prayer for the Day
“Pour forth, we beseech You, O Lord,
Your grace into our hearts,
that we, to whom the Incarnation of Christ Your Son
was made known by the message of an Angel,
may, by His Passion and Cross,
be brought to the glory of His Resurrection,
where we shall eternally realize the wonder of Your promises.
“Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,cf. Collect, Fourth Sunday of Advent (Roman Missal)
who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.”