Sunday, December 21, 2008
The Fourth Sunday of Advent
Fourth Sunday and Week of Advent
Light the 1st purple candle
(repeat first week's prayer: Stir up thy power, O Lord, and come, that by thy protection we may be rescued from the dangers that beset us through our sins; and be a Redeemer to deliver us; who livest and reignest with God the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end. Amen.)
Light the 2nd purple candle
(repeat 2nd week's prayer: Stir up our hearts, O Lord, to prepare the paths of thine Only-begotten Son: that we may worthily serve thee with hearts purified by His coming: Who livest and reignest with God the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end. Amen.)
Light the rose candle
(repeat 3rd week's prayer: We beseech thee to listen to our prayers, O Lord,
and by the grace of thy coming enlighten our darkened minds: Thou who livest and reignest with God the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever. Amen.)
Light the 3rd purple candle
Pour forth thy power, O Lord, and come:
Assist us by that mighty power,
so that by thy grace and merciful kindness
we may swiftly receive the salvation that our sins impede:
Who livest and reignest with thee in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
ever one God, world without end. Amen.
O Wisdom, holy Word of God, Jesus Christ,
all things are in your hands,
come and show us the way to salvation.
(From Christmas Prayers, Victor Hoagland, C.P.)
2 Samuel 7:1-5, 8-12, 14, 16
Fourth Sunday of Advent
The long wait is almost over. Jesus' birth is nearly upon us. As we get closer to the end of a wait, our expectations grow, often into something that can't be fulfilled. We think a new job will solve our problems at home, or moving away will fix a broken heart. Christmas especially gets saddled with unrealistic expectations�perhaps of family togetherness or the perfect gift. Are you doing this to Christ's coming? Are you expecting something of Jesus? Or are you simply waiting to meet him and accept him for who he is?
(1 Sm 1:24-28; Lk 1:46-56)
Be humble. Our society does not place great value on humility. We fear being overlooked if we don't assert our own worth. In contrast, Mary sees herself as a "lowly servant" and speaks of the mercy in store for the downtrodden. Let the Magnificat be your guide as you find ways to practice humility.
(Mal 3:1-4, 4:23-24; Lk 1:57-66)
Accept God's plan. The birth of John the Baptist marks the end of his parents' long and difficult wait for a child, but also the beginning of a life filled with great joy and great sorrow. As our wait ends, we too often find other stories unfolding. Accept the twists and turns as part of God's plan.
December 24(2 Sm 7:1-5, 8-11, 16; Lk 1:67-79)
Find your role. Zechariah, struck dumb when he doubted, finally finds his voice. What joyful words tumble forth when he understands and accepts his family's role in the Redemption! What role does God want you to take in preparing for Jesus' return, and what joy can you find in that role?