Grace to you!
I would love to use these remaining five days before Christmas to point to some dispositions that may help us relive the richness of the birth of the Lord. My first is to look at Mary, the Mother of the Lord in the dialogue between her and the Angel Gabriel.
We read from the Gospel of Luke 1:26-38 the beautiful conversation between the angel and Mary. The message was to announce that Mary, despite being a virgin, will bear a son, the Savior. Mary’s final response was: "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word" (Lk 1:38).
No better preparation could one make of the birth of the Lord than that gracious disposition to accept the will of God in our lives. Mary was chosen by God to be the mother of the Lord because of her obedience of faith to God’s will.
All her life was a constant yes to the plan of the heavenly Father. She became the womb to bear the Son of God because she was first the heart in which God’s Word had already made a home.
When an excited woman praised the womb that bore Jesus saying, “Blessed is the womb that bore you”, didn’t the Lord reply that rather blessed is the one who hears the word of God and keeps it (Lk 11:27-28). By so doing the Lord was pointing to that woman, to the other listeners and to generations to come that it is by obeying God’s word that blessings of the highest order come.
What blessings are we expecting during this Christmas? Christmas cards? Surprise—but no surprise—gifts beautifully wrapped in red paper and bags? Santa or the best dinners? The colorful cakes and candies? Socializing and meeting with friends and family? What is it?
How about more time to reflect on the meaning of Christ's birth and what it entails in our lives? A heart attuned to God’s word will be a perfect gaze at the nativity set in our homes.
We know God’s word isn’t always pleasant. It comes with those nudges that are sometimes challenging and make us uncomfortable. Yet, we embrace it knowing that the child to be born was, after all, born in a smelly manger.
May the grace of this season of expectation fill our hearts with the delight of Holy Presence. Amen.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[December 20: Is 7:10-14; Lk 1:26-38]
Father Maurice provides a daily blog of reflections based on the bible readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration and developing your own thoughts. It may also be helpful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations this Advent Season.