free to worship him without fear, holy and righteous in his sight all the days of our life.”
~ Luke 1.73-75
On this eve of the birth of Christ, we join with Zechariah to herald the arrival of God in our midst, in fulfillment of the earliest promises the Lord made to his people. We give thanks for the grace that saves us, the mercy that forgives us, and the steadfast love that preserves our covenant relationship despite our sinful human tendency to neglect it.
Of the many gifts of God for which we are grateful on this day, none is more precious than the freedom that Christ’s coming confers. In the first instance this is freedom from—from the demons that beset us, both out in the world and within our souls. But more importantly, this is freedom to—to worship the Lord, to tread his paths faithfully, to live, or try to live, lives of holiness. We must be careful not to confuse freedom with the license to do as we please. The latter is the way of the world, which hawks the glittering and seductive pleasures of “follow-your-bliss” individualism. The abundant freedom of the soul that Christ offers far transcends the ephemeral happiness of “anything goes,” but it also entails certain obligations. It means to take on the twin yoke of faith and works, to love God with all our might, and to love our neighbors as ourselves.
The paradox of the birth of Christ is that the king of all the earth came among us in the guise of a helpless infant. The paradox of life in Christ is that if we are to be truly free, we must first cede our much-vaunted autonomy and surrender our lives, our souls and our bodies into the hands of a wise and loving God.
All-loving, all-powerful, all-knowing God, On this eve of the birth of your son, grant that I may continue to prepare a place for you not just in the Advent season, but all year round, as I wait in joyful hope for the coming of my savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.
For today’s readings, click here.
You can access the complete collection of the Advent 2015 Reflection Series here.