Friday of the Third Week of Advent
The readings for the day can be found here.
For see, the winter is past,
the rains are over and gone.
– Song of Song 2:11
The above line from today’s readings is not a meteorological statement but one which is meant to express the climate of our hearts. With only a few short days left till Christmas, many of us may still find ourselves far from ready for a celebration. The cold, damp winds of our world and lives may still be our primary feelings. The joy and light and celebration of the Incarnational love of the season has not been able to move the clouds of fiscal or institutional “cliffs” away.
It would seem to me that this is possibly the same mood that Mary may have felt when she travelled to visit Elizabeth. From the Gospel of the next few days, we hear again the words of hope and rejoicing which comes when these two relatives gather to support each other. They come together to not only to share the joy of the upcoming birth of their children, but also to gather strength and light from each other. Both find themselves in the midst of pregnancies which are not “normal”, and though they are filled with faith in God, there must have been some fear of what all of this was going to mean. The clouds of uncertain futures, human tragedies and violence, still must be part of their thoughts. They both needed to find reassurance from each other that all was well, and that God would continue to support them in the trials to come.
Though the weather outside our windows and inside our hearts may still be grey and cold, we need to take the example of Elizabeth and Mary. As we search for the change in the climate of our heart and soul, we need to seek out fellow searchers, loved ones we can share our own joys and doubts. We need to listen to the commonness of the journeys we are on and find encouragement that we are all in the places we are meant to be. No matter where or in what climate we find our hearts, we now need to remember that the first Christmas was not any easier than ours. We need to remember that God so loved us that he came to be like us, not in an easy or comfortable time. God came to us in the messiness and confusion of human life and time, to show his great love which is beyond words.
As we, continue to prepare for our celebration of our loving God, let us turn to each other. Let us remember that in our sharing we get and give the support needed by each of us. We continue to try to see God working in our lives. We continue to grow in the freedom which allows God to speak and touch others through us. As we learn to better receive the gifts of encouragement and the care of God and others, we will find that the forecast for our lives and world will be brighter.
Have a Merry Christmas, and a Bright New Year.
Fr. Don Highberger, SJ is Special Assistant to the Vice President for Mission and Ministry.