“Do not be afraid; I proclaim to you good news of great joy.
a savior has been born for you who is Christ and Lord.
And this will be a sign for you:
Fourth Week of Advent & First Week of Christmas:
Dec. 23 - 29, 2012
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Fourth Week of Advent &
Daily Prayer This Week
This may be one of the most difficult weeks to be reflective throughout each day. This weekend may be quite full for many of us. Others of us may be alone, apart from the faith community we will join on Sunday and Tuesday, perhaps daily this week. While some of us have had guests staying with us and a house to clean, others of us will be reviewing memories and struggling, even a little, with being alone.
Whether this week is full or slow, it is a treasure-filled opportunity for reflection. Using the same means we've been using, we can let the richness of this week's readings and feasts fill the background of each day. Even on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day we can wake up, surrendering anxiety by letting the anxiety of these days take us to the scene of our Lord's birth. We can imagine the anxiety that filled the experience of Mary and Joseph. We can keep in our consciousness their trust in God. The Christmas music on the radio or at our church services and liturgies can bring the faith of these hymns and songs into our hearts. And, once it is there, these songs of faith will remain in the background all day long. When we are tempted to worry or complain, to be hurt or angry, to be frustrated or exhausted, the hymns will draw our hearts to rejoicing and gratitude.
Thinking about Stephen the Martyr or John, the apostle of love or the martyrdom of the innocents, with a little desire and focus, can guide our hearts to reflect on the meaning of Christmas - the gift of self-giving love. We can ask ourselves, what generosity can come from the gratitude I have in my heart after celebrating the gift of redemption? Who in my world needs more love? What happens in me when I think about the people in the world who need my support? Who is being martyred today? Who is witnessing our world's rejection?
All of us can imagine Jesus, Mary and Joseph going home. We can imagine their daily life. We can ask for the grace to live in God's presence, just as they must have done, and for the grace to be sensitive to each other and care for each other as they must have. We can ask that we might imitate their busy lives, trusting and dependent on God. Looking on their hidden life together, we can grow in a desire to be more humble, in a peace with greater simplicity, in a courage to let God take care of us. Whether we experience the poverty of that holy stable or the ordinary simplicity of daily routine, we can enjoy this week as a special opportunity to be drawn to a greater closeness with Jesus.
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