4th Sunday of Advent
“Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus.” Today is the last Sunday of the Advent season, and we hear in the Gospel the anticipation of the feast we will celebrate in just one day. Christmas is coming! Jesus is on his way!
We have had weeks to prepare for this momentous occasion, and now we are on the very verge of its arrival. The children in our midst can hardly contain their excitement as they wait to wake up on Christmas morning. The thrill of this coming moment is meant to remind us of the joy and anticipation we should all feel as we await the coming of Christ. Yes, Christmas is a great feast, but there is more here than a remembrance of the past or a fabulous party in the present. There is a looking-ahead as well. We celebrate as we anticipate.
Much as Mary must have waited in wonder during the nine months of her pregnancy, we wait in hopeful expectation as Christians looking forward to being reunited with our Savior. Our future is full of hope. The deflating melancholy that afflicts many people after a holiday runs its course need not be the experience of the Christian waiting for Christ. We are always looking forward to something! There is never a moment when we have no cause for joy. Our lives are lived in a kind of unending advent as we stand in watchful waiting.
Let us remember this as we enter into our Christmas Eve gatherings and festivities. As we join with family and friends to share in the good things of this life, may we carry with us the joy of knowing that even better things lie in store for us who welcome the infant Jesus into our hearts and homes.