Fourth Sunday of Advent

Here we are: The last “day of rest” before the holy-days of Christmas – – the Fourth Sunday of Advent and therefore the final one before Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Unlike how it may have been on that holy night when Christ was born, for many of us, Christmas isn’t usually all that quiet and tranquil.

Whether it’s last-minute cleaning, shopping, and preparations, or traveling from here to there (and back again), or receiving countless guests, or running to the store for something forgotten, the hustle and bustle of these next few days are preceded by the Sabbath, the Lord’s Day, which we are commanded to “keep holy.”

For us Christians, to keep holy the Sabbath means to offer praise and reverence to God our loving Father and to rest from the labors of the week.  To set aside an hour or so to give glory to God is difficult enough for many Catholics, but to truly rest from our labors can be an even greater challenge, one that we feel that we don’t deserve or for which we feel we have no time.  Yet, today and every Sunday, the challenge remains.

So, with today’s prayer, we might consider setting aside a few minutes, maybe briefly disappearing from spouse and kin, in order to spend some quiet time with the mystery of the manger, God’s becoming flesh.

More specifically, perhaps it would be profitable to use the gift of memory, that is, to call to mind the faces of loved ones and friends whom we will see ­­– – or would like to see – – this Christmas Eve and Day.  Imagine each person in his or her best moments, smiling and happy, God’s presence shining through.  Try to name for yourself what it is you sense within your heart during this prayer, perhaps a feeling of gratitude, of Hopefulness, and Faith in God’s Incarnate Love.  And, on this day when busyness is religiously set aside, ask God what you might want to say intentionally to each person this Christmas when He affords you the blessed opportunity to reunite.

Come, Lord Jesus!

December 22nd, 2013