Fourth Sunday of Advent
We can only wonder, with Elizabeth:
“And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?”
Elizabeth probably never imagined it happening to her, after all, she wasn’t anybody special. She wasn’t blessed among women. Someone else was. It wasn’t her child who was the Messiah, it was someone else’s. She had a walk-on part. But she was the first to greet Mary and to stand in the Presence of the Lord.
Elizabeth could be anyone. But she could also be everyone.
We are all Elizabeth, astounded and astonished at the wonders God can do—and like her, we open our arms in gratitude and joy as Christ enters our lives.
Christmas, we know, is just days away. But it isn’t just December the 25th. It isn’t just a day with a tree and presents and parties. Christmas happens for us as it happened for Elizabeth: it is whenever and wherever Christ comes in to our world.
Christmas is the homeless and hungry being fed at
a soup kitchen.
Christmas is the children learning how to read, write, add and subtract in our school.
Christmas will happen tomorrow when our second graders will receive Christ’s forgiveness for the first time at our penance service tomorrow afternoon.
It is a sick grandparent in a hospital receiving the sacrament of the sick.
It’s a baby baptized into our family of faith.
It is giving a stranger your coat, or whispering a prayer for your enemy.
It is the host we are about to receive—God giving himself to us in something as fragile as a leaf, as small as a coin.
Christ comes every day, in unexpected ways. Every day, in a sense, is Christmas.
Elizabeth discovered that. When Mary stepped into her home, Elizabeth may well have been thinking the same awestruck thought as the centurion, whose words we will repeat in just a few minutes:
“Lord, I am not worthy that you should come under my roof.”
How does this happen to me?
As we enter the last hours of Advent, and near the celebration of Christ’s birth, let us carry that question in our hearts, and strive to welcome him like Elizabeth—and not just this one day of the year, but every day.
May Mary, the Mother of our Savior, inspire us to share the greatest Christmas gift we can give to others and the whole world: Her Son!