Tuesday, December 20, 2011

According to Your Word - December 20th of the Advent Season

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

(Is 7:10-14; Lk 1:26-38)

Have you ever wondered what significance the phrase “God-with-us” has for your daily life? What might an awareness of this significance look like in terms of one’s attitudes, thoughts, words, and deeds?

In today’s readings we get an illustration both of one who lived with such an awareness and another who did not. Mary’s response to God’s messenger is a clear example of someone who was animated by the knowledge of God's closeness. Through her “fiat” Mary gave witness to an on-going process at work in her life of assenting to the unfathomable and mysterious plan of a God who can do all that he wills.

In contrast to the example of Mary, we have in the reading from Isaiah that of Ahaz. At first glance, the response of Ahaz saying that he will not tempt God seems pious enough. However, this was but a gloss of the fact that he, unlike Mary, did not trust in the word of God as spoken through the messenger sent to him. Ahaz was facing some very tough political and military circumstances and could not believe in the ways of a God who had it in mind to resolve these issues through the birth of a helpless child. In refusing to accept the sign and plan offered by God, Ahaz was revealing the fact that he had long since chosen not to live in an abiding awareness of “God-with-us.”

As we continue our Advent journey, let us follow the example of Mary by seeking to immerse ourselves in the fact that God, as Holy Mystery, is indeed with us and seeks to change the difficult circumstances of our lives and world through the birth of Jesus in our hearts.