Fourth Sunday of Advent, December 18th, 2011, Year B

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Dear Friends:

In today’s psalm, “Forever I will sing of your steadfast love, O Lord”, it is such a love that is at the heart of God’s desire to come near to us, to dwell in our hearts.

In the readings today two important persons are asked to give space to God in their lives. First, King David decided the “House of God’ needed improvements – something more than a tent. Who among us might not desire to give the same respect and honour? But we hear that God had other plans – it was among and in the people that God would dwell and establish a kingdom.

Then, in today’s Gospel, the angel Gabriel visits Mary, inviting her to give birth to the Son of God. Mary ponders, questions, considers. At the moment when Mary seems to hesitate, she learns that her cousin Elizabeth has also been graced by God’s love and will herself bear a child through God’s action in her life. Mary responds, Let it be done to me according to your word.”

We wait in joyful anticipation of the feast of Christmas. We know the spark of divine life within each of us that yearns to reach out in acceptance, openness and availability. God will give to each one of us what is needed.

The feast of Christmas calls us to make space for this God of unconditional, abounding love. It calls us to live love and extend it to others.

So this week let your thoughts wander to the Holy Family as they journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem, and with them make a joyful anticipation for the birthday of the child. The last preparation for welcoming him into this world and into your lives and hearts.