Daily Reflection
of Creighton University's Online Ministries
December 21st, 2009

Daniel Patrick O'Reilly

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Today’s scripture readings seem to be about waiting and rejoicing.  In Song of Solomon, the two lovers call to each other in anticipation of their meeting.  Zephaniah tells Israel to sing joyfully for the Lord is in your midst.  The psalmist proclaims, for in him our hearts rejoice.  In the story from Luke, the pregnant Mary and Elizabeth greet each other, and the infant in Elizabeth’s womb leaps for joy.

Well, here we are in the home stretch of Advent.  Christmas is almost here.  We wait in anticipation.  Waiting to rejoice.  Advent seems to be about waiting.  I love the Advent season.  Which is weird, because I have to admit, I hate waiting.  I’m just not very patient.  If I walk into a restaurant and there is a line, I don’t even ask how long the wait is.  I just leave.  I’m influenced way too much by our immediate gratification world.  And yet life has taught me that waiting can produce the most wonderful rewards.  In fact, sometimes waiting seems to make the thing we are waiting for more important and of more value.  Strange, eh?

This time of year the days are short and the nights are long.  The mornings are darker and darker.  In fact, when I get up it is pitch black.  I miss watching the sun rise.  The other morning I realized the moon was trying to peak through the clouds.  I waited a moment to see if the moon would come out.  I thought I should be making coffee or checking the news and weather.  Instead I decided to wait a little longer.  The clouds parted and I was rewarded by a breathtaking view.  A bright moon, surrounded by silvery clouds, lighting up the entire neighborhood.  A tapestry that even Michelangelo would have envied.  A gift from God to start my day.

I love the story of Mary and Elizabeth.  Pregnancy is all about waiting.  I know, I know.  I’m sure all the women reading this are rolling their eyes and saying, "oh yeah, he knows all about pregnancy and waiting."  And of course, you are right.  I have to admit to the general male ignorance when it comes to pregnancy.  However, I have partnered with my wife through seven pregnancies and I do understand the waiting and anticipation of the incredible, joyous moment of a new life coming into the world.  Waiting for a miraculous moment.

One wonders how Mary felt so many years ago.  Anticipating.  Wondering.  Anxious.  Obedient to God’s will.  Waiting to rejoice.  As we do.  Waiting to rejoice and celebrate the most important event in human history.  God coming into the world as a child.  What an incredible miracle.  What a wonderful gift.  Truly something worthy of rejoicing.  And, until then, we wait.

I know that for some, Christmas is not a time of joy.  The commercialization of Christmas can breed cynicism.  The holiday preparations can be overwhelming.  In fact, for some, Christmas can be a sad, lonely time.  My prayer this day is for those of us who rejoice to share our joy.  Share a smile, a moment, a meal, a gift.  And especially share the reason we rejoice with someone who needs to hear some good news.  Merry Christmas.

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