Monday, December 19, 2011

According to Your Word - December 19th of the Advent Season

(Image of the Advent wreath is from ImageVine/courtesy of All rights reserved.)

(Judg 13:2-7, 24-25; Lk 1:5-25)

“It has been said that two things frustrate us in life— when we don’t get what we want and when we get what we want. In either case, our expectation (generally inflated beyond imagining) exceeds reality. Hence, we are frustrated. Obviously, when we don’t get what we think we need or would like to have, we are frustrated and sense incompleteness and unfairness at the way we are treated.

But, the other (more serious) cause of frustration comes when we get what we want and then find out there are strings attached or challenges implied in our accepting it. Such is the plight of Zechariah and Elizabeth in today’s gospel. They had prayed for a child and had been careful in observing religious customs to be found worthy before God. But, just when what they had asked for was promised through the angel’s message, Zechariah doubted whether this could be true. He was about to get what he wanted and yet he could not accept this on God’s terms. Hence, he was struck dumb and could not announce or explain the coming birth to others.

It is when we submit to God and surrender to his plans for us, whether they are or are not what we expect or want, that we are able to achieve contentment and happiness. Real happiness comes from God’s ways, not our designs. Deep contentment should come from knowing that we are part of God’s people and that his plan involves our salvation. Nothing we could want on earth could ever substitute for the one thing that really matters— the life of God within and among us as we yearn for complete union with God in eternity.”

– Kevin W. Irwin, Advent/ Christmas: A Guide to the Eucharist and Hours (New York: Pueblo Publishing Company, 1986), 147, 148.