Thursday, December 19

Thursday of the Third Week of Advent | Fritz Bauerschmidt

The “O Antiphons” are the antiphons used with the Magnificat (the Song of Mary found in Luke 1:46-55) at Evening Prayer on the eight days prior to Christmas. The Church has sung these as part of the liturgy since at least the eighth century, but they are probably most familiar as paraphrased in the hymn “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.” They mark a shift in the season of Advent, when the liturgy turns from contemplating the second coming of Christ, at the end of history, to preparing to celebrate his first coming, in the midst of history. The texts draw on imagery from the Old Testament that expresses the hope of ancient Israel for a savior, a messiah, who would fulfill God’s promises: the promise made to Abraham that through him and his offspring the whole world would be blessed; the promise made to Moses that God would make his people a holy nation and priestly people; the promise made to David that his kingdom and lineage would not fail. These promises find their fulfillment in the birth of Jesus.

Wednesday, December 18

Wednesday of the Third Week of Advent | Kaitlyn Griffin

Christmas is a good time to remember the less fortunate around us. I often think about those who won’t be having a good Christmas, because of things like poverty and homelessness. At this point in my life, I unfortunately don’t have the means to help these people very much. I don’t have much money to give, and I have next to no time to offer. I have plenty of ideas about how I would like to help when I’m older, though. The best thing I can do right now is pray. Some people would say that praying doesn’t really do much, but I believe it has more power than people give it credit for. I pray that God will inspire those with the means to help those less fortunate. I pray that God will inspire me to use the means I do have to help in whatever ways I can.

Tuesday, December 17

Tuesday of the Third Week of Advent | Kaitlyn Griffin

Christmas is a fun time, but there is an element of sadness for me. About twelve years ago, a close family member passed away the day after Christmas. So every year, Christmas is immediately followed by sadness and remembrance. After he passed away, I spent a lot of time trying to figure out why. Given how young I was, I thought it was some sort of logical cause and effect. When I got a bit older, I shifted more towards thinking that maybe God was trying to save him from a sad life. Now I am in my twenties, and have had many more years of learning about God. My faith has grown and I have been better able to fully appreciate the gift of creation God has given us. I stopped asking why, and started to appreciate the knowledge I gained from the experience that I didn’t realize I was gaining.

Monday, December 16

Monday of the Third Week of Advent | Vanessa Johnson

As a rebellious teen, I loved the story in today’s Gospel. The chief priests and elders demand to know: “By what authority are you doing these things?” Jesus says: answer my question and I’ll answer yours. And they were stumped. My teen self thought: Ha! Take that, authority figures! I loved the story, but now I realize that I didn’t understand it, and I didn’t understand Jesus. Jesus wasn’t concerned with putting people in their place; he was focused on helping people find their place. In God’s realm, Jesus says, all of us belong.

Sunday, December 15

Sunday of the Third Week of Advent | Glenn Osborne

Rejoice! The Third Sunday of Advent is often called “Gaudete Sunday” because of the introit chant for the day: “Gaudete in Domino semper: iterum dico, gaudete.” ("Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice.)

Saturday, December 14

Saturday of the Second Week of Advent | Ximena DeBroeck

A whirlwind of fire, a chariot of fiery horses –these images are unsettling and would evoke fear or at least uneasy feelings in most of us–, especially without any context. The reference point is the prophet Elijah, who is mentioned in today’s reading from Sirach as well as in the gospel reading. But what do these readings have to do with Advent, and how can they inspire us during this time of preparation? Elijah was a prophet who ministered approximately nine centuries before the birth of Christ; his deeds are narrated in first Kings, chapters 17-19, and his final moments are recounted in 2 Kings 2 :1-12, which is precisely where we find the context for the whirlwind of fire.

Friday, December 13

Friday of the Second Week of Advent | Beth Mayr

Today is the feast of St. Lucy. We don’t know much about St. Lucy, but stories abound about her wearing candles on her head — earning herself connections to light. The image of light is striking in the midst of a dark December, leading up to the shortest day of the year in just 8 days, followed by the light of the birth of Christ a few days later. That contrast — light in the midst of darkness — is a reminder from God about who He is. Today’s response in the Psalm affirms that: “Those who follow you, Lord, will have the light of life.” Where are you finding light this Advent, this December, this year?

Thursday, December 12

Thursday of the Second Week of Advent | Karen Banta

While there have been many apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary over the years, I have a great devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe which began after watching the film “The Blood and the Rose”. The movie recounts the appearance of the Virgin Mary to Juan Diego on December 9, 1531. I see signs of God’s miraculous actions throughout the film.

Wednesday, December 11

Wednesday of the Second Week of Advent | Lisa Kantz

In today’s Gospel, Jesus says “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest”. Have you put it to the test? As Christmas draws near Do you take time to hear? His voice asking, are you tired? Are you worn? To help you live freely is why I was born.

Tuesday, December 10

Tuesday of the Second Week of Advent | Robin Demarest

On any given Saturday you may find me browsing in one of Baltimore’s many consignment shops. It is a favorite past time of many people and leads to a possible treasure or an extra piece of stuff that will be sent to Goodwill eventually. However, on this particular Saturday I purchased a hanging figurine for the backsplash in my kitchen. I was taken by the intricacy and color of the piece. I now know there was another reason I found this piece so engaging. After reading the passage for today’s Advent devotion I am surprised I did not see the meaning of this artwork sooner.