Christmas was always a big deal in my family growing up. Our house was decked out from top to bottom, inside and out, there were enough Christmas cookies to last you through the entire next year, and no matter what room of the house you were in or seat in the car there was Christmas music blaring through the speakers. It was my father’s favorite time of the year, and now that he is gone I see him in every inch of falling snow, the Christmas lights that light up the darkness, and the Christmas melodies that are played throughout the month of December.
Another aspect of the season that was even more important in my family was the season of Advent. My parents made sure my siblings and I knew what Christmas was all about. We always had an Advent wreath that would sit on our kitchen table that featured the Holy Family in the middle of the wreath. Today is the third week of Advent which means we are in the week of “Joy”. (Or in Latin terms Gaudete which means to Rejoice!) We are becoming more and more joy-filled as we await the birth of our Savior. Or as the young girl in me would always rejoice because the priest was lighting my favorite color candle today.
As we see in the Gospel reading today, “Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you; he will prepare your way before you.” Which were the words that John the Baptist spoke. Our salvation is near and the light that will drive out the darkness is about to be born. Today we rejoice in the middle of Advent because God wants to include each of us in His promise of unity in the world. This season during Advent also means that we are waiting in anticipation for the birth of Jesus. This is not a reason to sit back and do nothing while we wait. Are we making room for Christ to be born not just in a stable but in our hearts, minds, homes, and our lives? This season isn’t meant to be the first in line at the stores, or how many deals you were able to find to add to the dust and clutter in your home, but rather have this time of joyful anticipation so that when Jesus does come to the door for God to dwell among us and change our lives with His gift of salvation will be wide open.
The very essence of Christ being born for us IS good news. As we prepare a place for him amidst our worries, frustrations, disappointments, and everything in between we must realize that God is in control and He will not let us falter. God has a very unique way of interrupting our plans to remind us that He is with us. He wants our attention to show us a new way to be present to Him, with others, and with ourselves.
Christ was born just for this! Glory, Glory, Glory in the Highest and to the newborn King! O’ Come Let Us Adore Him!