24 Dec 2016

"Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfil his promises to her" (Luke 1:45)

The first Advent, when Mary became a God-bearer, was the end of waiting, a very long centuries old waiting. The Israelites had a centuries old promise from God that Messiah would come and now was the time when this promise was being fulfilled. I prefer images that show Our Lady being pregnant, as they are most evocative with meaning in this season. Even though during Mary's advent Jesus wasn't yet born, He was in fact already there, nurtured in silence beneath Mary's heart.

In the last few years, I started to think that Advent is about NOW. About what God is doing at this moment in our lives, partly because the traditional understanding that focuses on 'waiting' no longer spoke to me. But what is more, in the wider context of the history of God's people, Mary's advent was not a very long season of waiting, it was the end of it.

This Advent was probably the hardest I ever had, and yet the most graced and meaningful at the same time. God brought light to the corners of my soul that were hidden in the dark, and simply allowing it to happen was terrifying. But all I could think of in the midst of it, and now, is how good God is. Had He not led me on this journey I would continue carrying a burden I was never meant to carry, but now because of His goodness, when His grace finishes its work within me, I will no longer have to. And that is a meaning of Christmas.

Christ comes to our most deepest needs. In the midst of circumstances that make our hearts feel 'lowly' or 'poor', Christ comes, because there is room for Him there. No matter how you are, how you feel, joyful or not, welcome Him this night into your home, into your heart. All He needs is an invitation. We don't have to be perfect or perfectly prepared. None of us is, anyway.

C. S. Lewis said, "In our world, there was once in a stable someone who was bigger than the world itself". That 'stable' tonight will be your heart, and mine, just one more reason to call it a Holy Night.

- Iva Beranek

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