This year, Advent is very short, Sunday being the only day in the fourth week. In the General Roman Calendar, today is the last day of Advent, Christmas Eve, and also (beginning with the vigil Mass) the first day of Christmas time. The liturgical texts, express wholehearted confidence in the imminent coming of the Redeemer.
Today’s readings are an infusion, which contain a beginning with no end. It is a summation of the coming to pass, of the glorious promise of God our Father to His covenant people - a promise of a Redeemer to whom the Jews were to look forward to, and recognize by the signs as given through various prophets, such as Isaiah. ‘It is the promise of an establishment of a kingdom that will have no end, thus making a connection between the rule of David- ‘a man after God’s own heart’ and the reign of Christ the King who will rule over men’s hearts (Arch Bsp. Fulton Sheen).’
The Gospel reading encapsulates the theme of all the readings of today, which reveal this fulfillment of God’s promise made to mankind. But the beauty of the Gospel lies in the choosing of a humble virgin who would give her consent to God’s plan to redeem mankind through her.
God planned her birth, her face, her parents and even her demeanour, before she was even conceived. Kept free from original sin, she is the Immaculate Conception- chosen by God Himself to be His own mother, through which He would become flesh. Angel Gabriel, one of the seven archangels gave her the honour when he said “Hail favoured one”, knowing very well that she would be a rank above him- the Queen Mother. Barely a teenager, she tendered her will to God, to be His mother without human intervention. She didn’t think of the defamation which could happen as a result of conception without being married yet. In all humility, she submitted to the eternal plan of redemption.
Advent gives us the time to prepare for the coming of the Lord. Mary prepared herself all through her life, by keeping herself pure and holy. Hers was a confident hope that the promises of God made to His chosen people, would certainly come true. God has something beautiful planned for each and every one of us- a life with Him, in His Kingdom. Do we trust His word? Are we like Mary- pure and holy- waiting in confident hope for the coming of our Lord?
Each time we say the Hail Mary, the Angelus, the first of the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary, let us remember these virtues of our dear Mother and make our prayers more meaningful.
Christmas reminds us that God is with us. He is Emmanuel! And He is coming! God bless each one of you this Christmas and may the peace of Christ fill your homes!