This Christmas Eve (and always) we are called to prepare the way of the Lord

(iStock/cstar55)

December 24 / Fourth Monday of Advent (Christmas Eve)

Advertisement

“You, my child, shall be called the prophet of the Most High, for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way.” ~ Luke 1:76

We are on the cusp of Christmas. The last Advent calendar window has been opened; the four candles on the Advent wreath have been lit; all the verses of “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” have been sung (perhaps ad infinitum). The waiting that marks this season is nearly over—or is it? Today’s Gospel reading places the final attainment of joy just beyond our reach. For the child whom Zechariah heralds in his beautiful poem is not the Christ child whom we so eagerly await, but rather Zechariah’s own son, John the Baptist—the prophet who is not himself the light, but who comes to testify to the light. We are left, on this Christmas Eve, in a place of anticipation, certainly appropriate to the season of expectation, but also applicable to the rest of our lives, marked as they are by waiting. And we are invited, on this Christmas Eve, to follow the example of the prophet of the Most High. Like John the Baptist, we can convey the good news of God’s saving presence to others. Like him, we can bear Christ’s message of repentance and forgiveness into the world. Like him, we can testify to the light that is Christ. We must not merely wait passively, expectantly, for the coming of God’s kingdom: We must actively work to bring that kingdom about with all our hearts, all our souls and all our might. Our waiting is purposeful, it is grace-filled, it is imbued with the radiance of the light of God. And it is how we prepare the way of the Lord—today, tomorrow and forevermore.

Compassionate and generous God, grant that our waiting may be both patient and purposeful as we watch for your coming in joyful expectation.Amen.

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

Advertisement
More: Advent / Prayer

The latest from america

Light streams into St. Gabriel’s Passionist Parish in Toronto. (Photo courtesy of Larkin Architect Limited)
The daily light show at St. Gabriel's in Toronto is not just aesthetically moving, writes Dean Dettloff. It is part of a church design that reminds us of human dependence on the earth.
Dean DettloffAugust 23, 2019
“The Church is a family of families,” Pope Francis writes in “Amoris Laetitia.”
Kerry WeberAugust 23, 2019
Our commitment to God is expressed through living out the gospel, but also in your fidelity to prayer. Day in and day out. “Showing up and shutting up,” as my friend likes to say about daily prayer.
James Martin, S.J.August 23, 2019
In this Aug. 20, 2019 drone photo released by the Corpo de Bombeiros de Mato Grosso, brush fires burn in Guaranta do Norte municipality, Mato Grosso state, Brazil. (Corpo de Bombeiros de Mato Grosso via AP)
A record number of wildfires and the rapid deforestation of the Amazon are prompting Latin American bishops to plead for international action, writes America’s correspondent in Brazil, Eduardo Campos Lima.
Eduardo Campos LimaAugust 23, 2019