Living in the Advent Time means living with hope – looking to the horizon with the expectation that Immanuel, God with us, becomes ever more present to each and all. Yet, this is a deeply personal journey for each of us, for it is about a relationship oﬀered by Christ to me and to you. Everyone knows relationships need attention if they are to grow and ﬂourish. Maybe we can call Advent, relationship nurturing-time.
Throughout each of our lives, there are times of joy and times of sadness, times of success and times of failure, times of hope and times of despair. In all of the chapters of our lives, the one thing that sustains us in the hard times and ampliﬁes the happy times is a meaningful relationship. Often the relationship is in the form of a friend, a partner, a family member or a lover.
The mystery of the Incarnation, the enfleshment of God as a human person can best be understood as God befriending humankind. Yet friendship is not even an adequate word to describe the birth of Jesus Christ in that stable in Bethlehem 2,000 years ago. Christmas celebrates God’s radical act of love for all people.
However, relationships of any signiﬁcance are always mutual. In this relationship, God makes the ﬁrst move in the person of Jesus. The ministry of Jesus continues as men and women through the ages are invited into this relationship with the God/Man. Through the sacraments, beginning with Baptism, the relationship oﬀered holds the promise of not only friendship, but more of intimacy.
In this Covid blanketed December, the struggles every one of us face can be daunting. The friendship oﬀered in Christ is more than enough to sustain us. Not just to keep us aﬂoat, but also to give us hope. For God is with us – Immanuel is the fundamental truth of Christmas and always.
Third Sunday of Advent
– Gaudete Sunday –
December 12/13, 2020
In today’s second reading Paul concludes his letter to the Christian community at Thessalonica by providing it with actions to take as they wait for the return of the Lord.
The ﬁrst action is to rejoice always and give thanks in all circumstances. This does not sound easy in a time of pandemic. The two words that make this task diﬃcult are “always” and “all.” This means giving thanks and rejoicing even when our circumstances are not always moments of joy and thanksgiving, or when we are confronted with a broken world.
Prayerful stewards rejoice and give thanks in all circumstances, even during these uncertain and stressful times, because they are people of hope. A good reﬂection this week would be how the season of Advent can give you reason to hope.