Fourth Sunday of Advent

Today’s readings speak to us of a truly beautiful gift. The gift of God’s very own son, our Lord Jesus Christ! The prophet Micah tells the Israelites from Bethlehem shall come a great ruler, whose origin is from of old, and he will stand firm and shepherd his flock, God’s people. The Letter to the Hebrews reminds us Jesus did not come to offer holocausts and sin offerings, but to offer himself out of obedience to his Father’s will, and out of love for us. Finally, in the Gospel, Elizabeth, who was barren, is now with child and rejoices in our Lord, still unborn in Mary’s womb.  Elizabeth recognizes Jesus for who he is: the Son of God, the blessed fruit of Mary’s womb.  Woven in these readings lies a story, not just about a beautiful gift, but also about a beautiful promise. For from a dirty, smelly little manger, would come God’s greatest gift and promise to us, Emmanuel, God with us. I must admit this is difficult for me to understand….why did God send us His Son in such an unusual manner? Why wait for hundreds; yes, thousands of years to send us His Son?  Could it be the world just wasn’t ready for such an immense love? I guess the real question is, are we ready to receive such a wonderful love in the hard to understand, sometimes dirty and smelly aspects of our own lives? Well, no matter how difficult or dirty or smelly things get, God’s gift, God’s promise and God’s very presence is always with us.

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