Advent 2016

Fourth Friday of Advent - December 23rd

Mal 3: 1-4, 23-24 // Ps 25: 4-5, 8-10, 14 // Lk 1: 57-66

Amid the holiday bustle and busyness -- studying, shopping, wrapping, baking, travelling, gathering – it is easy to lose focus of what it means to ‘prepare’ ourselves for the obligations of the holiday season.  Have we taken a moment to slow our hectic pace and ask to what end?

In all of our endeavors, it seems that we can easily bypass tending to the spiritual preparedness that we are called to during the Advent season.  Activities that are generated by secular distractions only serve to distance our hearts from the real excitement and joy in the anticipation of the coming of the Christ!

Today’s reading (Mal 3:1-4) reminds us that God has sent a messenger ahead to help us prepare for the coming of Christ.  Instead of becoming mired in the ‘last minute’ rush of holiday obligation, we must seek the calm and clarity of God’s guidance in preparing our hearts:

Make known to me your ways, LORD; teach me your paths.
Guide me by your fidelity and teach me,
for you are God my savior,
for you I wait all the day long.

(Psalm 25:4-5)

Too often we capitulate our enthusiasm for Christmastime celebrations and forget the meaningful intentions necessary to cultivate our spiritual selves during the season of Advent.  In anticipation of Jesus’ arrival, we pray for God to fill our hearts full with awe so that we are overtaken by the fear and joy of Christ’s birth.

As the year draws to a close, I find comfort in reflecting upon God’s guidance of me, a humble sinner, knowing that “All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth” (Psalm 25:10) for those who honor his promise and commands.  My heart is preparing to wait with enthusiastic patience knowing that with the birth of the Divine Child and his infinite love for us, the world is about to receive the most overwhelming gift in Jesus who reveals God’s gratuitous love.  

Michelle Pyfer
College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, Graduate Theology (2013)