Fourth Sunday of Advent
December 18, 2022
Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, our scripture readings roll out before our prayer the long line of salvation history. It is a line that we can walk in wonder, winding from Isaiah’s prophecy, through the House of David, down to Joseph dreaming in the Nazarene night, and Mary fully waking to God in the Nazarene morning.
It is a story filled with words we love because, ever since our childhood, they have carried to us the fragrant scent of Christmas. These readings are the thrilling stuff of prophecies and dreams, all the more wonderful because we know them now fulfilled.
Therefore the Lord himself will give you this sign:Isaiah 7:14
the virgin shall conceive, and bear a son,
and shall name him Emmanuel.
Joseph, son of David,Matthew 1:20
do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home.
For it is through the Holy Spirit
that this child has been conceived in her.
She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus,
because he will save his people from their sins.
This long wick of Promise, burning slowly through the biblical years, bursts into light with the birth of Jesus Christ, the Fire of God.
Through our faith, that Divine Light kindles us – we who now, through our Baptism, carry the sacred DNA of Jesus into our times.
On this final Sunday of Advent, when the world’s “crazy Xmas” tries to hijack our souls, let us be very intentional about the true meaning of these days. Let us take the time to “go into our heart cave” and prepare for Jesus.
Poetry: And in Her Morning – Jessica Powers
The Virgin Mary cannot enter into my soul for an indwelling. God alone has sealed this land as secretly His own; but being mother and implored, she comes to stand along my eastern sky and be a drift of sunrise over God and me. God is a light and genitor of light. Yet for our weakness and our punishment He hides Himself in midnights that prevent all save the least awarenesses of Him. We strain with dimmed eyes inward and perceive no stir of what we clamored to believe. Yet I say: God (if one may jest with God), Your hiding has not reckoned with Our Lady who holds my east horizon and whose glow lights up my inner landscape, high and low. All my soul’s acres shine and shine with her! You are discovered, God; awake, rise out of the dark of Your Divine surprise! Your own reflection has revealed Your place, for she is utter light by Your own grace. And in her light I find You hid within me, and in her morning I can see Your Face.
Music: Emmanuel – Tim Manion (Lyrics below)
Baby born in a stall.
Long ago now and hard to recall
Cold wind, darkness and sin,
your welcoming from us all.
How can it be true?
A world grown so old now, how can it be new?
Sorrow’s end, God send,
born now for me and you
What are we that You have loved us so well?
A song on high, a Savior’s high, angel hosts rejoice
Thy glory to tell
Lord, lead us to know.
You lay like a beggar, so humble, so low;
no place for Your head and straw for a bed,
the glory of God to show.
Babe on mother’s knee,
child so soon to be nailed to a tree;
all praise, till the end of our days;
O Lord, You have set us free