Advent Reflections – December 24, 2015

What Could the World Be?

And now we have reached the day before the day, Christmas Eve. Today may well contain the most anticipation, require the most patience, and obtain the least notice. Today takes the longest and goes the quickest. Our anticipation for Christmas can fully consume us as we prepare feasts, clean our homes, greet guests and wrap presents. So, before you launch into your final Christmastide preparations or choose your Christmas Eve party outfit, I hope that you find a few moments to take stock of your Advent experience. Have you prepared your heart and your home for the Christ-child?

If you have been following these Advent reflections, you know that I have tried to present a number of qualities or characteristics that I believe could be beneficial for all persons. Using Mary, the Mother of God, as well as our growing understanding of the Motherhood of Jesus, as the starting point, we all spent time reflecting on these valuable characteristics.

So the final question really is simple.

How could your life change if you choose to highlight these characteristics, to cultivate them, to make them your own, so that they came to you as easily and simply as breathing? 

To truly live these characteristics – openness to life, forgiveness, self-sacrifice, unconditional love and unity – requires dedication, devotion and perseverance. As we saw yesterday, each one draws on elements of the other. It is impossible to love unconditionally but withhold forgiveness. There can be no unity without a special, undiscriminating openness to life. This is really a package deal. How radically could our world change if these were the guiding principles of our daily life, of our political endeavors, of our financial decisions, of our social interactions?

The life that Mary inspires is the life that Jesus desires. Above all things, Mary’s purpose is to bring us to her Son. When you go to Mass tonight or tomorrow, pay special attention to the figure of Mary in the nativity scene. I think I can safely promise you that when your eyes discover her place in the stable, you will immediately follow her gaze to her child, the newborn Savior of the world.

If we choose to follow Mary, to adopt those things she holds dear as our own, we will find we can look no other place than into the eyes of Christ.

“Gerard van Honthorst 001” by Gerard van Honthorst – The Yorck Project: 10.00 Meisterwerke der Malerei. DVD-ROM, 2002. ISBN 3936122202. Discributed by DIRECTMEDIA Publishing GmbH. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons

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