Evangelizing Moments

Evangelizing Moments

Fourth Sunday of Advent

Isaiah 7:10-14

Psalm 24:1-2, 3-4, 5-6

James 1:1-7

Matthew 1:18-24

What? “…the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall name him Emmanuel, which means “God is with us”. (Matthew 1:23) What does it mean that “God is with us”? Why is Christmas disappointing to some “kids”?

So what? Growing up in my house Christmas was always filled with mixed emotions. You see I grew up with divorced parents. However, Christmas was my favorite time of the year. I loved all the smells of candy, cookies and ham. I loved the music of both church and secular Christmas songs, so it brought me great joy. But at the same time, it brought me great sadness because of the divorce, and I didn’t always get to see my mom on Christmas. So even though I would “get” what I asked for I never “got” what I wanted; family togetherness. Deep down that’s what I wanted. But God is not going to always give us what “we” want. Joseph didn’t get what he wanted. God won’t give us something that will hurt us. Looking back now I know having family together would have done more harm than good. God was protecting me. So maybe we really don’t know what to truly ask for because we seldom get what we want.

Now what? I had a professor in my post-graduate studies that used this helpful analogy in describing the broken human condition of our fallen world; he said, “It’s like we are all driving around in our cars on flat tires and we don’t realize it and now we are asking for a new car. Jesus came to inflate your tires and shine up the car.” We are asking for the wrong things. What do you want for Christmas? God is saying ask for something – let it be as deep as the netherworld or as high as the sky. (Isaiah 7:11) What’s in your heart not your wallet? Go to that inner place of the heart or “cor” (Latin for heart) That’s where the Lord is waiting, waiting to give you what you truly desire. That’s where the Holy Spirit the Lord the “Giver” of all life, the gift giver resides. Maybe the gift we need is wisdom to see with God’s eyes what he wants to give us and with that the ability to ask in faith and not doubt, (See James 1:5-7) to have the ability to step out in trust and to let go of our fears and insecurities. My favorite Christmas show is “Merry Christmas Charlie Brown” and my favorite part is the scene where Linus recites the passage from Luke’s Gospel about the birth of Christ. If you watch carefully in this scene when Linus says, “fear not” he drops his “security” blanket, the one thing he is famous for never letting go of. Only the Lord can give us that gift’ the gift of letting go of fears, hurts and traumas. A little child (Linus and the infant Christ Child) are showing us what we really should be asking for; peace and joy. So, this Christmas ask that little kid inside you, “what do you want for Christmas?”

Happy Advent!

Have a wonderful Sunday!

Joe Bland

Pastoral Associate

St. Mary of the Woods Catholic Church