4th Sunday of Advent
Fourth Sunday of Advent, Lighting of the Advent Wreath
Behold, you will conceive in your womb
and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus.
Today is the 4th Sunday of Advent, when we light the final purple candle, signifying the last week of prayer and penance as we anticipate the birth of our Savior. This final candle is known as the “Angel’s Candle,” symbolizing peace. It reminds us of the message of the angles: “Peace on Earth, Good Will Toward Men.” This week is also a time to recollect, to reflect on our Advent journey. This is our last chance to set aside the hustle and bustle of the season to refocus on our spiritual preparations for Christmas.
Christmas is upon us! In today’s Gospel, we read Luke’s account of the Annunciation, the moment that Mary is told she has found favor with God and she will conceive and bear a son. How frightening yet powerful that moment must have been. Mary questions, “How can this be,” and in the same breath declares, “may it be done according to your word.” Mary did one simple thing. She listened to God’s will – that she was to be the mother of Jesus and she accepted God’s will. We can learn a lot from Mary. Her example of faith and obedience to God, the traits which allowed her to receive Gabriel’s message that God’s Son would be born to her as a human person, are two of the most significant. And throughout her life, she not only remains humble and obedient but also loving and trusting.
Through Mary’s grace, Jesus is born as one of us, fully human, yet fully divine. This is the mystery for which we prepare at Christmas – the mystery of the Incarnation. May God give us the grace to be people of faith and to respond with obedience.
Three “advents” or “comings” shape our desire. We want to be renewed in the sense that Jesus came to save us from our sin and death. We want to experience his coming to us now, in our everyday lives, to help us live our lives with meaning and purpose. And we want to prepare for His coming to meet us at the of our lives on this earth.
As we move into our final days before Christmas, let us reflect on what it means to experience the coming of Jesus in our everyday lives and how this coming gives our lives meaning and purpose.
Let us Pray:
Lord, our God,
Grant that we may be ready
to receive Christ when he comes in glory
and to share in the banquet of heaven,
where He lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
We reflect today on a promise of a day full of hope, love, joy, and peace.
We ask for the grace to be open,
to respond to whatever the Lord is offering us
in these precious days of preparation and anticipation.
Image by Henry Ossawa Tanner – http://freechristimages.org/biblestories/annunciation.htm, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4864374