Black Friday is almost over, thank God. The day is little more than a commercial feeding frenzy. And unfortunately it is strategically placed to follow on the tail of one of our most cherished family feasts: Thanksgiving. So, don’t spend any extra time enjoying the company of those you love. No, run out at the crack of dawn to buy stuff to show how much you love them.
Well, this Sunday we begin a very quiet liturgical “feeding frenzy.” For four weeks we are invited to reflect on God’s greatest gift. Oh, we spend so little time digesting this most delectable fare. We surround ourselves with pretty pictures of the angels, shepherds, sheep, mother and child, but are these images imprinted on our soul? I mean: are they real, important, and personal to us?
Am I there in quiet prayer when God’s messenger surprises a humble young woman with a request? Will she relinquish her plans and cooperate in the great mystery of God? Would I try to convince her to think twice about saying “yes”?
And what about poor Joseph? He is a hardworking, pious, just man awaiting the time when he can take that same young woman home as his wife. She will return from visiting her cousin looking very pregnant. What does that mean? Should he denounce her? What of his plans?
Many other characters appear in these next four weeks. Yes, we’ve heard their stories many times so we’ll be tempted to indulge in distraction when we recognize what is coming up in the readings. Here’s a thought: pick up the Good Book on your own (even as it is parceled out in the Sunday readings in a missal) and give a read. Let some thought stay with you and go over it a few times during the week. God is giving us a peek at the Gift he picked for us. Go ahead, it’s OK to check it out.