December 24, 2023 — Fourth Sunday of Advent
2 SM 7:1-5, 8B-12, 14A, 16; PS 89:2-5, 27, 29; ROM 16:25-27; LK 1:26-38
As any harried parent or excited child can tell you, there is just one day left until the celebration of Christmas begins. As Christian stewards let’s live this last day of Advent well.
Our First Reading, from 2 Samuel, features King David, who has resolved to do God a favor by building Him a house in which to dwell. But God reminds David Who is truly in charge. “It was I who took you from the pasture and from the care of the flock to be commander of my people Israel. I have been with you wherever you went and I have destroyed your enemies before you.”
What is true of David’s position before God is true for all of us. Our God is mighty, all-powerful and Love itself. The only proper response is to worship Him and live our lives as a grateful gift for all His goodness to us.
How can we possibly live up to this task? Only by relying on God, as St. Paul tells us in the Second Reading, from his letter to the Romans. Paul instructs us to go to “him who can strengthen you… Jesus Christ.”
The truth is, once we recognize that all we have is gift from God, the next step is to acknowledge that we need God’s strength and wisdom to guide us in the best use of those gifts for the building of His Kingdom. Hopefully, we are making time during Advent to go to God in prayer and through the sacraments to obtain the strength we need to live as His disciples and the guidance to know we are indeed following His will with the gifts He has entrusted to us.
In fact, our aim should be to make the words of our Blessed Mother our own. We read in today’s Gospel passage from Luke the wonderful words of her “fiat,” her “yes” to God’s plan. “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” These are among the most beloved words in the Gospel. But the next sentence is also important for the Christian steward.
After Mary’s fiat, we read, “Then the angel departed from her.” Our Blessed Mother was left with a lot of unexplained details about God’s plan for her! Yet, she followed God’s will perfectly. She gave herself and her life fully to God as a gift. She trusted in her Heavenly Father to guide her at each step, and He did. She was the first disciple. We are called to follow her example as disciples today.
This Christmas, let us resolve to make our whole life a gift to the One Who has given us everything. It is the work of a lifetime. But He will give us all the help and strength we need to do it.