December 22, 2013 – Fourth Sunday of Advent
The Gospel from Matthew proclaims “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel, which means ‘God with us’.” St. Paul introduces himself to the Romans, to whom he is writing in the second reading as “Paul…called to be an apostle, and set apart for the Gospel of God.”
That essentially sums up what and where we need to be as we complete our Advent preparations on this Fourth Sunday of Advent with Christmas fast approaching. We, too, are called to be Apostles — the Greek roots of the word “apostle” meant messenger. Thus, there are two important clues for us as stewards as to what Advent and Christmas mean to us personally.
First, is the Good News (Gospel) that God is with us (Emmanuel). The second is that we are called to be messengers of that Good News among all peoples. Christmas is not just a time for us to celebrate the birth of Christ, but it is a time for us to be renewed and to accept our calling to be those messengers, those disciples.
There are often a lot of good feelings at Christmas, but the best is the joy produced by the understanding that God loves us. We join with shepherds and wise men and angels proclaiming, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace, goodwill to all people.”