Thursday of the Fourth Week of Advent
Today’s Gospel: Luke 1:67-79
Do you remember when growing up, the promise your father or mother would make each Christmas that Santa would come bringing lots of presents? So on Christmas Eve they would tell you to get ready for bed early and prepare a plate of cookies and milk for Santa, maybe even carrots for his reindeer! You may even do this with your children now. The excitement would be building up all day Christmas Eve! What a promise for them to make and to keep!
There is a greater promise, however, that has been made to us that sometimes we take for granted during Christmas. It is the promise God our Father made from the beginning through his prophets, like Nathan, that we will always be His, we will always be loved by Him, He will always be with us and how He has prepared a place for us in His Kingdom. God’s promise to us was fulfilled when He gave us His only begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, born of the Virgin Mary; a fulfillment we are called to remember each year at Christmas.
So how is this promise taken for granted? You may remember each year at Christmas the birth of Jesus, but how deep is the meaning of this to you? Do you remember that Jesus’ birth is because of the depth of God’s love for you? Do you remember Jesus was born, the dawn on high, because He knew the darkness you would experience? Do you remember that He was born, only to die, so that you could be freed from your sins? Do you remember His birth was so that He could show you the right path when you strayed and how to walk it? Do you remember the birth of Jesus was so you can experience the joy of God’s mercy and kindness? We need to go deeper each year and remind ourselves of the great promise God has fulfilled through the birth of his Son, the greatest Present.
Zacharia’s prophesy in today’s Gospel is a great way to remember God’s promise to His people, to us. It is also a great reminder how we, like John the Baptist, need to go before the Lord, and prepare in the hearts of others for His coming. To let them know, through our words and actions, the real reason Jesus was born was because He loves them, no matter what their life may be like, so that they may experience the peace of Christ in their hearts.
The promise of Santa Clause coming with many presents is fun and exciting, but let us reflect on this day before Christmas an even more exciting promise. Tonight or tomorrow at Mass, give thanks to God for that deeper reason Jesus was born for you!
Copyright Br. Paul Culver, O.S.B.
Br. Paul Culver, O.S.B. is a Benedictine monk of the Sylvestrine Congregation at St. Benedict Monastery, Oxford, MI.