Fourth Sunday in Advent - December 22nd
So, a Franciscan, a Dominican, and a Jesuit found themselves at the threshold of the manger in Bethlehem. They saw Mary, Joseph, Jesus and the other inhabitants of the familiar scene there before them. The Franciscan fell on his face, overcome with awe at the sight of God born in such poverty. The Dominican fell to his knees, adoring the beautiful reflection of the Trinity and the Holy Family. The Jesuit walked up to Joseph, put his arm around his shoulder, and said, “So, have you thought about where to send him to school?”
This joke, normally told to poke fun at my beloved Jesuits, offers us some insight into the birth of our Lord into our lives. We can see what led each man into his encounter with Jesus: God’s poverty for the Franciscan, the beauty of the Nativity for the Dominican, and the practicality of the Jesuit. Further, in the readings given for this 4th Sunday of Advent, we see more ways in which people are called to experience Christmas. We see in the example of Joseph one who is called to trust God in an unfamiliar situation and in Paul, one who sees the immeasurable gift of our faith as well as the accompanying challenge.
Retreating from campus to celebrate Christmas with our families and friends provides us with an opportunity to reflect on the things that have led us to the manger this year.
As we prepare to celebrate Jesus’ birth, let us reflect on moments of beauty, moments of poverty, moments of joy. And let there be no doubt that God has continued to call us closer into relationship with him through all of these things, to meet Him where we may least have expected it and to remember that He is with us.