Saturday of the fourth week of Advent
The readings for the day can be found here.
Thank you for staying and praying with us on our Advent web site these past four weeks. We pray your prayer has been enriched by the reflections of our colleagues.
Today, the day before Christmas, the last day of Advent, we approach Jesus, the One we’ve been anticipating, the One for Whom we’ve been waiting, the One for Whom we’ve been praying: God, entering our lives. Advent helps us prepare a place for Jesus, to welcome Him, All of the ancient prophecies come to their culmination…
Today, if not before, we can let go of all of the busy-ness in our preparations for Christmas, we can stop rushing around. We can really prepare for Christmas. Today, certainly, at some point, we can let go of all of the shopping, eggnog, planning, buying, cooking, wrapping, banking, Santa, cards, trees, wreaths, gifts, decorating, dinners, cookies, and more, or, at least, put it all in a different perspective. We could even, hard as it may be to imagine, leave some things undone…waiting, not finished, much as we are still waiting, still as we are certainly not finished.
We need to be awake and alert, we’re approaching the hour.
Pope Benedict XVI, then Cardinal Ratzinger, observed that It is the beautiful task of Advent to awaken in all of us memories of goodness and thus to open doors of hope… and that is our prayer for you. Let’s continue to pray for each other.
REFLECTION ON THE READINGS
Jesus is close…this is the day and the hour. Our readings prepare us further, telling us more about the Lord, more about Jesus and why He came to us in the first place. We hear that God has come to his people and set them free…He has raised up for us a mighty Savior… We recall the first covenant; that God has promised to save us from our enemies, from the hands of all who hate us…
Today, in these last few hours before the Christmas season begins, we can pray, fast, repent, read the Bible, and be quiet. Today we can thank God for Jesus, the real gift we will receive, for the promise of peace He brings, for the gift of freedom He offers us. Today we can realize the goal of our prayerful preparation.
In our readings, God restates His gifts to David, His gifts to us, leading us to the real gift Jesus is for us–the gift of freedom. Jesus will set us free from the hand of our enemies, free to worship him without fear, holy and righteous in his sight all the days of our life.
Expecting, hoping, waiting, praying…Jesus is coming! May we be delivered from “holiday” distractions; may we enter holy day reflection and prayer; may we stand with those who welcome Jesus to the world.
May this Christmas fill you with the gift of peace we’ve been promised, and the understanding of the freedom that is ours because of Jesus. May we welcome Jesus into our homes, into the church, into our lives, and may our lives and homes and church be transformed by Jesus.
May Jesus give us all new avenues of peace, new hope for prosperity, and new zeal for justice for all who lack the opportunities, the blessings, often even the basics, we enjoy.
Paul Stark, SJ is Vice President for Mission and Ministry.