“And they shall name him Emmanuel,” which means God is the with us.”
Today is the fourth Sunday of Advent and for many of us we may be wondering how fast this season of light, hope, joy and peace has come the lighting of the fourth candle. Advent is a challenge as it calls us to slow down and be still in the waiting and longing for the birth of Christ. Slowing down and being still gets to be more and more difficulty each year as the marketing industry pushes the season of Christmas further into the month of July instead of December. So what can we do to save the moments of Advent?
Well for me I try to spend time re-reading on of my favorite books titled Watch For the Light Readings for Advent and Christmas. What I love most about this book of reflections by numerous authors is that each year it is as if I am reading the reflections for the very first time. Honestly, I find great mystery and grace in this simple joy of accepting that, because when you thing about it our lives are constantly evolving into something more; and words and prayers can offer different experiences according to where you are at that time in your life.
If you were to look back over the past three weeks, can you see where you have taken time to be still? If you have been distracted by the busy chaos of shopping for gifts, decorating your homes, planning meals for your special guest, crowded malls, unemployment, underemployment, failing health, anger, a sick love one, disappointment, political issues of immigration and war, and the struggle for justice as we listen to the pain of families across America that have lost their love ones to violence. The I would like to suggest this short meditation from Psalm 46:11 “Be still and know that I am God.” Take the time to slowly release each word until you are at the word “Be” now in total silence be embraced by God.
At today’s mass we have the wonderful opportunity to enjoy the gifts of our children in grades K-7th Religious Education program. They are the hope and joy of our future church and world. In place of Bro. Ray’s homily the children will read a very beautiful poem written by Dr. Maya Angelou titled A Christmas Poem. This poem tells the simple story of a family who join in with their community—rich and poor, black and white, Christian, Muslim, and Jew—to celebrate the holidays. On Christmas Eve at the 5:00 pm mass our teens in the Confirmation program will share their gifts; as they too are the future hope of our church and world. Their program will include the Posadas. Posadas is a Spanish word meaning “shelter.” This tradition is most often attributed to the Hispanic people; however it is a celebration for everyone. The Posadas reenacts the story of Mary and Joseph as they searched for a place to stay in Bethlehem. In today’s world, full of people who are displaced in one way or another, Posadas offers an opportunity to reflect on where we are going in our life.
As you discern where you are going in your life here is a prayer for Peace on this fourth Sunday of Advent, Light four candles and sit for a moment in silence. You can even include Psalm 46:11 with this prayer., “Christ our peace, Glow brightly in each moment. Enlighten our vision so that we see the illuminating light of your love that shines so brightly in the evening stars. Lord relieve us, if just for a moment, of our worries and stress. We await your coming with abundant joy.” Amen.