Intention: We pray for a faith-filled and transforming Christmastime for our world, one that fills it with peace, justice, and good will toward all.
Today’s Gospel | Luke 1:39-45
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, “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.”
A Reflection for the Fourth Sunday of Advent
The author Craig D. Lounsbrough wrote, “I have both the violent turbulence of the storm and the quiet promises of God in the storm. And what I must work to remember is that something is not necessarily stronger simply because it’s louder.” The people that Jesus knew and served lived in a world that was overwhelming them with its brutal injustice. Many in their pain hoped for a savior with his own thunderous power to crush their tormentors. Instead, they were visited by completely different kind of power, one that sought to overcome grinding cruelty and oppression with compassionate and healing justice. It was a radical understanding of victory, one which – then as now – some would accept and some would not. Today, many still think that the key to assuring justice in the world is a shift of power rather than a change of heart. Perhaps it is because we continue to focus on what is easy to hear and fail to seek that voice to which we should listen. In the person of Jesus, we find the lesson that true strength serves rather than denies, heals rather than wounds, creates rather than destroys. It is a lesson that still wants to be learned, a voice that still wants to be heard. The time of Advent is a time for us to speak from within the storm for the quiet Christmas promise that is the grace of God’s Kingdom.
Eternal Father, as the days draw closer to the one when we remember the birth of your Son, help us to open our ears and hearts to the sound of his approach. Teach us to prepare a place in our lives in which we can greet him and embrace his presence. May we be filled with gratitude that your promise has been kept and that we have been shown our salvation and that of our world. We ask this of you who lives and reigns with your Son and the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever. Amen.