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Friday of the Third Week of Advent 2018

December 21, 2018

Scripture: Sg. 2: 8-14; Lk. 1: 39-45

“… When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the infant leapt in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said “Most 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” (Luke 41-45).

On this the shortest day of the year, my family has always welcomed the mystery of darkness. Long ago, in New England, we would not put up our Christmas Tree until Christmas Eve, but we would make traditional holiday preparations throughout Advent.

On the eve of this longest night we would bring out our hand-carved Nativity Scene and arrange the angels, animals, shepherds and Mary and Joseph in the aging barn with wooden shavings for the manger. We would solemnly hide the infant figure and place the Magi and their camel far across the room to be ready for their journey.

My children have continued this tradition with our fragile crèche. Each year I find peace in the silence and darkness and the candlelit faces of these wooden figures. We marvel at what is known and unknown about the birth to come.

PRAYER:

Let us pray for the faith to hear and believe, as Elizabeth and Mary did, the voice of the Lord in the unknown. Let us welcome and not fear darkness. Let us find stillness and peace in candlelight. May the Lord help us anticipate the joy of His Word in our small acts of preparation. Amen.

               By Nancy Ryan Lowitt