Monday of the Fourth Week of Advent

Optional Commemoration of Saint John Kanty, Priest

 Everything is finally set.

The fullness of God’s revelation, Emmanuel, God Enfleshed, is soon to come to light through the miraculous birthing of a Jewish teenager in the middle of a cold, starry night in rural Palestine.  (Have we allowed ourselves – – even a moment – – to prayerfully contemplate that in our minds and hearts this Advent Season?)

One of the foreshadowing signs of this apex of salvation history is the miraculous nativity of the forerunner of the Christ, John the Baptizer, whose seeming sole purpose in life was to point away from himself and toward Jesus (a good model for all of us):

Behold!  The Lamb of God, taking away the sin of the world.

From the beginning, the Father revealed himself to His beloved humanity through covenantal relationships, making firm promises of his steadfast, loving presence with, among, and for His people.  Incapable of breaking these bonds Himself, God patiently and mercifully renewed with us His promises, time and again.  The prophets foretold of the One who was to come in God’s name, the One who was God’s Son, the long-awaited Messiah, the Savior-King and definitive revelation of Yahweh.

In these final hours before Christmas Eve and Day, we have made the final preparations for the celebration of God’s Incarnation, most typically in the context of being in the presence of loved ones.

In this country and elsewhere around the globe, tickets for trains, planes, and automobiles are carried in pockets close to the heart; pastries, sweets, and desserts of all sorts are cooled near the hearth or on countertops; handed-down recipes are followed with care; candles are lit and prayers lifted up in dark stone churches built hundreds of years ago and in modern votaries in hospital chapels; mothers bathe their children in tubs, sinks, and nearby streams and smartly comb their hair; and fathers gather sticks and wood or charcoal for the fire.

As we hear beautifully chanted in tomorrow evening’s Roman Martyrology:

The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ according to the flesh.

Everything is finally set.

For prayer, take a step back, and, asking for help in seeing in your mind’s eye the vision of that first Christmas – – its poverty, its simplicity, its beauty and majesty – – ask the Lord, “What would you want me to know about You this Christmas?  How can I prepare my home and my heart for Your Presence to come and remain there?”

Come, Lord Jesus!

December 23rd, 2013