December 20, 2015 – Fourth Sunday of Advent

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Here we are! It’s nearly time. Christmas Day is just around the corner. Are we ready? Am I ready? Ready for what? Ready for the in-breaking truth that Jesus Christ is born again in our midst— now, in 2015, in my home town, in this particular nation. God has come among us in human form – in the person of my good friend, in the next door neighbor, in the relief postal worker who just brought my mail, in each of you reading this reflection. Can I see Christ so nearby? Am I a believer? What will it take for me, for each of us, to believe deeply?

Things were just as challenging for a young teenager named Mary many centuries ago when she opted to run to the hill country to visit her cousin Elizabeth who was also visited by an angel. Maybe Mary needed to flee the difficult home scene in Nazareth, but more so, she needed to see for herself that Elizabeth was six months pregnant after years of being Zachary’s ‘barren’ wife. Mary needed to talk with an older woman, her cousin, who would understand her new situation; she needed some wisdom from the faith of the ages. She took time to assist her cousin in her surprise pregnancy; then she returned home and, no doubt, ‘faced the music’ there—with Joseph, with her parents and family.

Have you ever found yourself with some ‘breaking news’ that it was next to impossible to announce? How did you finally reveal it? To whom? How was your news received? Can you relate to Mary of Nazareth as she struggled to find God’s will? Would your experience be more like Joseph – hidden and unexpected? How well did you deal with the adversity? And the challenge?

Can you begin to see a parallel of your life with Mary and Joseph as they began their engagement and their married life? What can you learn from Elizabeth and Zachary when their long-awaited dream came true? How does your story and mine connect with the stories of the sacred scriptures? What are some of the learnings that come forth when we look at the possibilities? How else shall we come to believe in the God-with-us? Look at your own story, and then search out the like events in the Bible. Let yourself be surprised along the way!

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