We just passed the Third Sunday of Advent so there are very few days left before Christmas. This is where we really begin to get nervous. Will I finish getting ready for Christmas on time? It’s just one big holiday whirl. PAUSE! Take a little breath. If only we were as worried about our spiritual preparation, but most of our stress is on presents, decorations, and dress. We need to take a moment to see how God has been preparing. Have you noticed in the liturgical readings how calm and gentle and patient God is? Read them again for these three Sundays and catch all the tenderness and mercy, of the Shepherd-God who gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them, of the many promises of peace, of forgiveness. I waited, waited for the Lord and he stooped down… Those words remind us of the many heartwarming military reunions we see on the media. And, waiting also involves alertness. When we were kids awaiting Santa’s arrival, our parents hoped we would fall asleep. But, awaiting God, we need to be alert. Usually, when we await God, it is in prayer and, all too often, we aren’t so alert. We get sleepy and distracted. Not to worry: these are normal, human reactions to our busy, complex, pulled-in-many-directions days. Feeling these things doesn’t automatically mean that we aren’t alert. The “alert” we are speaking of here is the state of our soul. This alertness is our spirit looking for God, looking toward his promised coming. So don’t worry much about the sleepy distraction you may feel. It is to be expected and accepted as natural, but try to pay attention to what God means by Christmas. He is sending his Son to us. Why? Because God loves us and he wants to make us happy. He comes in the most charming and beautiful way: as an innocent Child. In the Christmas Season, God only asks that we acknowledge his Gift. And, as we would do with any child, God wants us to gather up this Holy Child in our arms, that his gentle love may be ours.
Let us join with our loving God in crying out: Joy to the Whirl!