Advent 4

With just three days to go until Christmas, the kind of preparation we may be focused on may have little to do with Jesus’ birthday.  Let us take this opportunity to focus on the true gift of Christmas.  A virgin will bear a son, in the line of David, who will be called Emmanuel, “God is with us.”  Along with preparing gifts and Christmas dinners, let us also prepare a place in our hearts for God to be with us.

Centuries ago, God was preparing to come into the world in a mysterious, glorious, and total way.  In our readings today, three figures choose to place their trust in God, although after appearing reluctant to do so.

Ahaz, the king of Judah, protests his unworthiness in making a request of the Lord when actually he fears that he will need to accept the    sign, that is, a virgin will bear a son.  Paul now calls himself a slave of Christ Jesus, but had formerly persecuted Christians. 

Finally, Joseph was ready to divorce Mary until the angel of the Lord counseled him otherwise.  Each chose to place his trust in God once God gave him a sign.

Sometimes the opposite of faith is fear.  Judah feared its hostile neighbors and Ahaz feared he would lose his power.  Mary was found with child and Joseph feared a marriage to an unfaithful wife.  Each overcame his fear through faith in God’s promises.

The first Gospel, that is the Good News, was a message from the angel of the Lord who appeared to shepherds: “Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all people.  For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Christ and Lord.”  What are we afraid of as we approach Christmas and a New Year?  God has intervened by becoming a human being to save us from death, health issues, protect us from harm, strengthen us, forgive our sins, guide us and bring us love, peace, and joy.

From Fr. George, the entire staff, and myself we wish all of you a Merry Christmas and a healthy and happy New Year.

Fr. Bob


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