Intention: That in this season of hospitality and generosity, all of us will make a special place for those whose lives are wounded by need, misfortune or injustice.
Today’s Gospel | Luke 1:39-47
Mary set out and traveled to the hill country in haste to a town of Judah, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, “Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.”
And Mary said:
“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior.”
A Reflection for the Third Monday of Advent
The season of Christmas is synonymous with gifts. While people have long had a propensity for focusing on the material notion of gift, the story of the Nativity challenges us to a higher understanding, one that transcends the exchanging of material possessions. We are asked to consider gift as the coming of grace into our worlds, a special and surprising presence that lifts us and awakens us to the real and sacred meaning of our lives. When it comes to the giving and receiving of gifts, the true gift is the act of giving itself. It is in that moment when we are most like God in his unconditional graciousness that the fullness of our identities as children of God is revealed. And so, we are challenged to celebrate our Lord’s birth by entering into this right understanding of giving. As the letter of James insists, “Do not be deceived, my beloved: all good giving and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no alteration or shadow caused by change.” (Jas. 1:16-17) The time of Advent is a time to make gifts of our pure and open hearts.
Eternal Father, we always are in your presence, but sometimes we make ourselves too much the center of everything and so do not recognize you. As we remember how your Son first came to us in simplicity and ordinariness, let us see you in every person that we meet. Let us hear you in both the laughter and the cries that reach our ears. May others know you through how we live our own lives, and may all of us learn the lessons that you have placed in our struggles and our successes. We ask this of you who lives with your Son and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.