Wednesday, 20 December 2006

Distracted by the trappings

Today I felt 'Christmassy' for the first time, thanks to the cold weather and our school's excellent Christmas concert, which I attended this evening (based around Dickens' Christmas Carol). I even rushed out to a local supermarket to buy some drinks for our family get-together, which takes place in the presbytery next Thursday. Such a Yuletide mood will come in handy over the next few days, as my thoughts turn to the content of my Christmas sermon, but I keep having to remind myself that there is still a purple candle waiting to be lit on the Advent wreath and there is much interior preparation needed before 25 December.

With this in mind, the Holy Father's words at today's Audience seem very opportune:
“The Lord is at hand: come let us adore him!”. In these last days of Advent, the liturgy invites us to draw close to the stable of Bethlehem contemplating in awe the birth of the Redeemer. Full of joy and thanksgiving we recall how the Creator of the universe, out of love, came to dwell among us. For many centuries Israel had awaited the Messiah, imagining him as a powerful and victorious leader. Instead, the Saviour was born in absolute poverty, and the true light who enlightens all people was not accepted by his own (cf. Jn. 1:9-12).

Do we still await the Saviour? Today many consider God irrelevant; an obstacle to success. Even believers sometimes seek tempting but illusory shortcuts to happiness. And yet, perhaps even because of this confusion, humanity seeks a Saviour and awaits the coming of Christ, the one true Redeemer. We Christians, through our witness against those who offer a ‘cheap salvation’, defend the truth of Christmas which Christ brings to every person of goodwill.

Let us then with Mary and Joseph prepare to open our hearts to the Lord who is at hand. Do not be distracted by the trappings! Be watchful and pray! In this way our homes will welcome Jesus with faith and love.

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