THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD IS UPON ME, BECAUSE HE HAS
ANNOINTED ME TO BRING GLAD TIDINGS TO THE POOR.
Where in the Bible do we find the very first declaration by God that he is going to send a once-and-for-all Savior?
Please repeat after me: “2 SAMUEL 7: 1 – 11!”
Advent anticipation begins here in these verses of the Old Testament. Waiting begins here. Fascination begins here. The whole spirit and meaning of ADVENT is taken from 2 Samuel 7.
But in this day and age, we fall short of the waiting and anticipation that is Advent. I believe we have a problem with faith—faith in the Incarnation, faith in ourselves, or both. Fortunately, Mary the Mother of Jesus continues to model faith-filled discipleship for us—by the way she was able to move beyond her fears and by the way she was able to surrender herself to God’s will. True enough, she at least had the advantage of an angel to let her know what God was asking of her, but who wouldn’t need the direct message of an angel to do what she was asked to do? For sure, the problem is with having enough faith—enough faith in Jesus’ second coming to us.
It is the Advent of the second coming of Jesus that should be filling us with joyful anticipation and zeal for God’s reign upon the Earth. It is the same as evangelization—that quality of being so caught up in the promises of Jesus that we simply cannot help talking about it often and living our lives accordingly. I am afraid that the reality, however, is that we live in a time of Christianity that is dulled or even complacent—certainly not excited and enthusiastic. While there are many programs out there ready to help our parishes become welcoming, amazing and renewed in Catholic identity, the harsh truth of statistics is that sacramental life in our Catholic parishes (including this country) are dropping off dramatically.
So, this Christmas, what will you pray for? What should we all pray for? I say we should pray for a deeper faith in the Incarnation and the desire of the Creator to continue incarnation in each of us. God “so loved the world” by sending Jesus “incarnate of the Virgin Mary.” He continues to love the world by sending Jesus incarnate in us! And, if in the new year ahead of us, we can have even a little more faith in our own being sent, perhaps we may be able to join Mary in getting beyond our fears in order to live our true calling—unique in each and every one of us.
In the end, for people of faith it is not just for Santa Claus’ coming that we ‘better not shout, better not cry.” It is for Jesus’ coming again that we should allow every tear to be wiped away for joy—the joy that comes from daily being saved and redeemed.
Peace to you these final days of Advent!