The Gospel according to Luke (1:39-45)
Mary set out in those days
and traveled to the hill country in haste
to a town of Judah,
where she entered the house of Zechariah
and greeted Elizabeth.
When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting,
the infant leaped in her womb,
and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit,
cried out in a loud voice and said,
“Most blessed are you among women,
and blessed is the fruit of your womb.
And how does this happen to me,
that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears,
the infant in my womb leaped for joy.
Blessed are you who believed
that what was spoken to you by the Lord
would be fulfilled.”
As I’m writing this, I’m looking at the twinkling of lights on our Christmas tree and thinking of how it is that Christmas is now just a few days away! As a result, I am caught by the first words of today’s Gospel about how Mary traveled “in haste”. It sure feels to me like I’ve traveled “in haste” this Advent season. I like to think that it’s all been for a good cause, but still, I feel a little bit unprepared to commemorate Jesus’ birth this Friday night at Christmas Eve mass.
What is it that causes us to ever go “in haste” to some destination? Two main reasons would be desire, or requirement. We go “in haste” to visit family, because we love them and desire to be with them. Or, we go “in haste” to a destination because we were required to be there at a certain time. Our motivation for the “haste” is different, depending on if it is “desire” or “requirement”.
Thinking of my own journey this Advent, I have seen a little bit of both of those reasons in these days. I would like to have used more of the first (going “in haste” out of desire or love), but have definitely not achieved that like I would have wished. What I hope to do during these last days of Advent is to pause a bit and think about what it is that we celebrate, and the wonder that is Christmas. Then, I can feel ready to “hasten” to Christmas, because of the great love it represents to the world, and to me as well. I will know that it is because I desire to experience Jesus’ coming among us all again, and know that He came out of love even just for me!
May each of us look in our own hearts for the desire to welcome the Christ Child this week, and know that the same love He has for each of us is to be shared with all who come into our lives. May each of us seek to do that in big and small ways, and so shine the light of love that Jesus is, and illuminate our own corner of the world!
Action for the Day: Take time today to pause and ask God to help you be ready to celebrate Jesus’ birth with a new perspective of love and thankfulness, and to do so by sharing love and kindness with everyone you meet today.