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Monday in Fourth Week of Advent - Mass in the Morning

Scripture Readings

I watch my grandkids on a regular basis.  Almost every time my 2 year old granddaughter comes over, she looks at me and says, “Nana, I came here!”  In her simple language, she is telling me that she left her home and traveled to my house to be with me.  As I reflected on the readings and the imminent arrival of Christmas, I think that Jesus is reminding us of same- “I came here!”  Jesus has come down from heaven to be present in our lives!  Emmanuel- God with us!

In the first reading, King David tells the prophet Nathan that he plans on building a “house” for God.  God responds by telling David it is not possible for David to build God a home, since God cannot be contained within a building.  God continues to explain that His power and presence has provided David with everything that he has.  God has been with David always, and even after David is laid to rest, God promises to be present in a particular way to the world through an offspring of David.  God foretells His coming to establish His kingdom forever.

In the gospel reading, Zechariah rejoices in the fulfillment of the promise made long ago- God has “come to his people and set them free.”  Zechariah realizes that with God’s presence comes freedom to worship without fear, forgiveness of sins, and a land of peace.  Zechariah is celebrating the fact that his son (John) is the one who will prepare the way for God’s coming and God’s kingdom as he paves a way for Jesus’ arrival.

So how do we respond to Jesus as He tells us “I came here”?  What does Jesus’ incarnation-becoming flesh among us- mean for us?   Jesus is sent by the Father to come to us, so we can know a love beyond our imagination. Do we recognize His presence in us, around us, in creation? Do we understand His birth and life is an answer to a promise made many years ago?  From the beginning of time, God has been present in the world just as He told David. But Jesus allows the presence of God to take flesh- He physically comes here to the earth to extend God’s grace, love, mercy and forgiveness.

When my granddaughter comes over and tells me that she has come to be with me, I try to spend time with her reading her favorite books or playing with her toys. With my attention to her, I show her my love.  Do we do the same for our God? How can we prepare our hearts and our lives to welcome the presence of God in all that we do?

As we celebrate the arrival of Jesus, may we take time to pause and recommit our lives to growing in our relationship with Christ. Through time spent in prayer, scripture, sacrament and daily living may be come to know that we are loved by our God who came to be with us.  May Christ’s presence in us deepen, so we can go forth to be Christ for the world.

Loving Father, you give us Your greatest gift- Your Son Jesus.  May we recognize His presence in us and around us.  Through the grace of Your Spirit may we know Your love, grow in our love for You, and then go forth to share Your love with others.  We pray this through Christ, our LORD. Amen.

- Marylynn Herchline