Intention: On the eve of the birth of our Savior, we pray that we will make of our hearts a worthy place to receive him and of our lives a worthy voice to proclaim him.
Today’s Gospel | Luke 1:67-79
Zechariah his father, filled with the Holy Spirit, prophesied, saying:
“Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel; for he has come to his people and set them free. He has raised up for us a mighty Savior, born of the house of his servant David. Through his prophets he promised of old that he would save us from our enemies, from the hands of all who hate us. He promised to show mercy to our fathers and to remember his holy covenant. This was the oath he swore to our father Abraham: to set us free from the hand of our enemies, free to worship him without fear, holy and righteous in his sight all the days of our life. You, my child, shall be called the prophet of the Most High, for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way, to give his people knowledge of salvation by the forgiveness of their sins. In the tender compassion of our God the dawn from on high shall break upon us, to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death, and to guide our feet into the way of peace.”
A Short Reflection for the Fourth Tuesday of Advent
On the eve of our Lord’s birth, the people of Israel were anxious. They were living in hard times, contending daily with insecurity, deprivation, and oppression. In their struggles, they looked to their scriptures and to God’s ancient promise of deliverance. Then, that night, they were greeted with the sight of a single star and the good news that a door had been opened to their salvation. It is a timeless story, not only in its significance, but also in its relevance. Modern life also is blighted, afflicting countless people with poverty, violence, corruption, prejudice, and indifference. With all that humanity has learned and accomplished, this can still be a cold and cruel world, without security, without dignity, without fulfillment. And so, the gift of that first Christmas Eve sadly stays in many ways unopened, while we remain ensconced in graceless ways. Even with all that God can do for us, the fact is that nothing will change unless we change. For brokenness and despair to not have the final word, we must embrace the redemption that came on Christmas to dwell among us. For the world’s cycle of ignorance and injustice to be ended, we must open our hearts and mend our ways. For there to be liberation and peace for all, we must repudiate the power of domination and embrace the strength of compassion. Jesus was born that we might have life and life to the full. The time of Advent is a time for us to accept every day the call to be reborn into new life.
Eternal Father, your love is everlasting. You are our God and we are your people for all eternity. As we ready ourselves to welcome your Perfect Presence in the coming of your Son, may we prepare a place for him in our hearts. Take away our smallness and our fears, and rekindle in us the fire of our faith. Make us ready to receive the gift of our salvation as he seeks to dwell with us and fill us with the light of newborn peace, hope, and love. We ask this of you who lives and reigns with your Son and the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever. Amen.