The days of advent are quickly coming to a conclusion. The readings speak of the urgency of being prepared to meet the Lord when he comes again. The lowly maiden Mary, hears the angels greeting, and the words he speaks fills her with wonder and praise. The psalmist tells us to lift our heads for our salvation is near at hand. Our hearts are to exalt in the Lord, his closeness to us is exciting, joyful. The longing of our hearts is satisfied when the Love of God descends to the earth in the humility and poverty of the stable at Bethlehem. This is a birth that is to be celebrated with great joy. In the tiny figure of the baby Jesus we see the lengths to which God goes to confirm how much we are loved! And in return our love is to be a gift offered to the poor, the needy, those who hunger and thirst for that message we hear loud and clear at this wonderful time of Christmas, a message that says “You are loved by God, look, here is the proof!”
The great joy of Christmas as a priest is to see first hand, the transformation of the church. The regal advent wreath with all candles lit, with the building of the stable, the decoration of the church adorned with fresh colourful flowers, the beautiful fixtures, the trees, the stars, the growing feeling of hope, the anticipation of joy, the increasing light shining in the darkness, the small whisper of hope, that emanates from the scene, as that whisper become a booming cry!
Advent is a gift, for amidst the frantic shopping days, the fraught misery of trying to buy Christmas, it is all there before us, in the simplicity of a stable where in advent, we are journeying towards. So special to kneel down at the stable, and offer a prayer of adoration and thanksgiving. We celebrate that our lives have been validated by love, we are the shepherds arriving, peering in with curiosity, with faith. We are Mary and Joseph, with happiness beyond our understanding. We are the kings, the wise ones, seeking the truth and finding it here. We are humanity that is touched and changed forever by this selfless act of God, our God who come to visit us, who loves us, and who always will love us.
So become still in these last few days of advent my soul, be calm, be calm, my longing heart, and be ready to receive the joy of the good news, that God loves you very much!