Free At Last: Dec. 24, Fourth Saturday of Advent

Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel; for he has come to his people and set them free. ~ Lk 1:68

My youth choir director, the redoubtable Mrs. Davis, ran a tight ship—I recall more than one instance when she tossed a mischievous boy out of rehearsal!—but she was also one of the formative religious instructors of my childhood. As we rehearsed hymns and anthems every Tuesday afternoon, she would pause to offer her wisdom. She often held forth on the difference between license and freedom, warning us that doing whatever we wanted (which seemed pretty appealing to a ten-year-old) would ultimately make us unhappy, and that life as a Christian entailed certain commitments and obligations that would bring us true freedom.

Advertisement

As Advent hurtles towards a close—despite our best efforts to harness time!—it is my hope that our readings have illuminated the freedom we find in the commitment to prayer. The first step in prayer is to find that Sabbath moment—to stop time, be still, and sense the presence of God. From there, our conversation with the Lord proceeds: we confess our shortcomings, give thanks for our blessings, offer up our petitions, and finally, perhaps most importantly, listen for his voice.

RELATED: To subscribe to these Advent reflections, sign up here and check "Digital Content Updates."

This takes effort, and discipline; it is, some days, even a burden. But as Christ assures us, his burden is light, and his yoke is easy. By setting aside time to “check in” daily with the God who calls us by name, who watches over us, who loves us, we will gradually come to understand the part He has sent us to play in the history of salvation, a history whose trajectory was changed irrevocably with the birth of Christ, the joyful event that we celebrate tomorrow. A happy Christmas to one and all!

RELATED: Read all of our Advent reflections for 2016

Loving Lord, who has raised up for us a mighty Savior, Show me the freedom of life in you as I celebrate the birth of Christ. Amen.

For today’s readings, click here.

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.

Advertisement

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

 Pope Francis arrives in procession to celebrate Mass marking the feast of Pentecost in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican May 20. The pope at his "Regina Coeli" announced that he will create 14 new cardinals June 29. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
Eleven of the new cardinals are under the age of 80 and so have the right to vote in the next conclave.
Gerard O’ConnellMay 20, 2018
Images: AP, Wikimedia Commons
Bishop Curry described Teilhard as “one of the great minds, great spirits of the 20th century.”
Angelo Jesus CantaMay 19, 2018
Both men were close to each other in life, and both are much revered by Pope Francis.
Gerard O’ConnellMay 19, 2018
The Gaza Nakba demonstrations this week have done nothing to advance the situation of Palestinian refugees, nor did they provide relief to the people of Gaza, who dwell in an open-air prison, hemmed in and oppressed at every turn.