December 21, 2019
by Jay Carney
Creighton University's Theology Department
click here for photo and information about the writer

Saturday of the Third Week of Advent
Lectionary: 197

Song of Songs 2:8-14
Zephaniah 3:14-18a
Psalms 33:2-3, 11-12, 20-21
Luke 1:39-45

Today's Advent Prayer

Praying Advent Home Page

Contemplating the Visitation with Zechariah

Elizabeth Remembers

When I read today’s first reading from Song of Songs, I couldn’t help but recall a distinctive memory from the early days of my courtship with my future wife. During an intramural softball game in college, she suddenly appeared on the sidelines of the field. Playing third base, I glanced over in her direction. She smiled at me. My heart skipped a beat. The next groundball skipped by me.

In contrast to my view of my wife, I don’t often think of God in terms of “desire.” I am more comfortable thinking of God in terms of “agape,” the self-giving love of 1 John 4 that we will hear about during the upcoming Christmas season. And yet here the Church is reminding us, four days before Christmas, that God does not just give of God’s self – God desires to be united with us. In the memorable words of the Qur’an, God is already closer to us than our jugular vein (Surah 50:16). And in the marvelous miracle of the Incarnation, God partakes in our very flesh in the human person of Jesus Christ. This should be a cause for great joy, the kind of exhilaration that inspires Elizabeth and her unborn baby to leap and shout … or even the delight that causes a young man in love to take his eye off the ball.

May your heart skip a beat this Christmas.

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