Wednesday in the Third Week of Advent 2018
December 19, 2018
Scripture: Jgs. 13: 2-7, 24-25a; LK. 1: 5-25
While the Christmas season can be a time of great joy, for some it can be a time of trial and tribulation. For me, it is the latter. Just as in today’s gospel story, where Zachariah who was old and childless, experienced fear and was troubled when the angel Gabriel appears to him while fulfilling his priestly duties in the Temple, I too, am fearful and troubled by the “appearance” of the Christmas season. The trappings of the secular Christmas season are the source of my fear and tribulation.
But as the story goes on, Gabriel tells Zachariah “do not be afraid”, your prayers have been answered. “I’ve been sent with good news. Your wife Elizabeth will bear a son. You will name him John, and he will prepare a people fit for the Lord” (1: 13). Zachariah and Elizabeth’s prayers were answered. Elizabeth’s response was: “So has the Lord done for me at a time when he has seen fit” (1: 25). They accepted that they were to be childless. But with God, there’s always hope. Now, not only were they going to conceive, they were going to bear John the Baptist, a great prophet. John the Baptist is the one who will prepare the way for Jesus! During these final days of Advent, our focus turns to our preparations for the birth of our Lord.
One way we’ve done so in my home is when my family sets up the manger scene, the creche remains empty. It serves as a visual reminder to us, that Jesus is coming, and we need to prepare through prayer, attending mass, and performing acts of service, rather than through excessive gift buying, holiday decorating and party going. On Christmas morning, before any presents are opened, our family gathers around the manger, we place the baby Jesus in the creche, and thank God for sending his son to redeem us. The wait is over. At that moment, I’ve found my joy.
Lord, grant me the perseverance of Zachariah and Elizabeth. Help me to hold on to the hope and joy that your birth brings. Amen.
By Lisa Kantz