Save Us From Ourselves, O Lord
Our Advent longing and waiting enters the final week today. As Christmas Day is next Saturday, this year we get to experience a full fourth week of the season. Waiting is hard. Children are wrapping up school before a long break, eagerly awaiting time to relax and play with their new presents. As adults, however, we are tired. The worries and troubles of the last year are weighing heavily on our minds. It is easier to think of all of the ways in which we are struggling and failing to incorporate Advent into our liturgical living.
The psalm today calls upon God to help us. Lord, make us turn to you; let us see your face and we shall be saved. I imagine this psalm is sung with an air of frustration and impatience. Lord, get here already so we can celebrate Christmas. There are things to do, people to see, shopping to be completed. Rushing about to check another item off a never-ending list. Yet the first and second readings remind us of the sacrifice of the season. In today’s first reading from the book of Micah, we are told that tiny Bethlehem would play a part in the story of salvation. How often do we overlook the smallest or weakest among us? All of us, no matter how insignificant we feel, have a place in the story. Jesus comes for all of the children of Israel, the shepherd for the great flock of people. Another way to phrase the psalm today: Lord, make us remember your purpose, let us see you and participate in the story of salvation.
In today’s second reading from the letter to the Hebrews, the words of Jesus acknowledge that we do not enjoy sacrifice or offerings. Yet still Jesus is sent by the Father to redeem us, to fulfill what has been foretold, and to consecrate our lives to the Father.
We are so close to receiving Jesus in the manger. Take time this week to remember the reason for the season. The savior of the world is coming. How can we prepare to meet him next weekend? In today’s Gospel, Mary hurries to see her cousin Elizabeth after receiving the message from the angel Gabriel. She prepares for the coming of John the Baptist and Jesus.
Today we light the final purple candle on the Advent wreath. Our Advent journey looks complete, but we still have time to wait. Such is life, when we pray and await the coming of the Lord. Save us, O Lord, show us the way. We are anxiously await the day we get to see you in glory.