Monday December 24, 2018


Readings of today :

A reading from the holy Gospel according to Luke 1:67-79

Zechariah his father, filled with the Holy Spirit, prophesied, saying: "Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel; for he has come to his people and set them free. He has raised up for us a mighty Savior, born of the house of his servant David. Through his prophets he promised of old that he would save us from our enemies, from the hands of all who hate us. He promised to show mercy to our fathers and to remember his holy covenant. This was the oath he swore to our father Abraham: to set us free from the hand of our enemies, free to worship him without fear, holy and righteous in his sight all the days of our life. You, my child, shall be called the prophet of the Most High, for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way, to give his people knowledge of salvation by the forgiveness of their sins. In the tender compassion of our God the dawn from on high shall break upon us, to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death, and to guide our feet into the way of peace."

REFLECTION:

"In the tender compassion of our God the dawn from on high shall break upon us, to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death, and to guide our feet into the way of peace."

It was Saturday night and we were Christmas shopping . There were many last-minute shoppers and bargain seekers. The checkout lines were long. Many were impatient as we were too. We knew that there would be a lot of traffic congestion going to the restaurant--with many irritated drivers.

At the restaurant the waiters were flipping tables as fast as they could to maximize the restaurant’s income that weekend.

Leaving town, we drove through a very busy intersection, where two major freeways met and we needed to choose one to take. Traffic was at its worst. People were rushing in and out of the strip malls, speeding, cutting us off, running lights….

And why the rush? Why the self-inflicted stress?

To buy, buy, buy? Is it to look good, giving people "great" presents? When we do this, that is called “human respect”--caring more about what people think. It is a bad habit to have. Even to the point of being sinful .

Is it to have a beautifully decorated home? Or is it to have a warm place for your friends/relatives, so they can celebrate Jesus’s birthday together?

When Jesus was born, everybody in Bethlehem was busy, busy, busy. Roads were packed with travelers. Markets were full of customers. And as we know, 1st century Airbnb’s were completely booked. No more room. No exceptions.

Jesus was born in the only empty place His parents could find for Him.

A stable.

What is the true meaning of Christmas?

Presents? Food? Getting together with the family?

This Christmas God is looking for a place to stay.

And where can God stay? ...In our hearts.

Our hearts are, paraphrasing Dorothy Day, like a stable. Smelly. And in dire need of a good cleaning. A stable was good enough for the King of the Universe to be born.

If we are full of worry, or desirous of materials things, and full of ourselves, then our hearts won’t have room for Jesus.

God was waiting for a heart to stay, so He created the Immaculate Heart and the gentle meek heart of Joseph.

We need to sincerely repent and empty our hearts of ourselves.

And then, He will have a place to dwell.

But we cannot keep God, unless He keeps us.

You didn’t get to buy all the presents you wanted? Don’t worry, it is not important. Nobody remembers what they got for Christmas last year. Only who they were with.

Forgot an ingredient for dinner? There are culinary substitutions for everything.

House is not up to the Queen of England's standards? Great! It means it is a warm and cozy place to gather.

Take time off from doing. And meditate in the great mystery that Christmas is-- Jesus is looking for a place to stay. Make room for Him in your heart.

Is your soul prepared?

Are you ready for Emmanuel?

"In the tender compassion of our God the dawn from on high shall break upon us, to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death, and to guide our feet into the way of peace."

Jesus is near... and desires to come into our hearts, to be our Savior and our King. Ready to guide us into the way of peace.

Merry Christmas!

#Christmas #stable #manger #ImmaculateHeartofMary #Joseph #Jesus #Nativity #stress #rush

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