During the season of Advent we focus on the coming of Christ. The four Sundays move from looking forward to the Second Coming of Christ at the end of time when the Reign of God is fully established, to the coming of Christ in our midst proclaimed by John the Baptist. This fourth Sunday we focus on the coming of Christ in human flesh. We celebrate the birth of a Savior foretold by the prophets, Jesus Christ, Prince of Peace.
Jesus is both human and divine. The humanity of Jesus helps us to find the sacredness in our own humanness. In the person of Jesus, God and humankind come together in perfect unity.
In the Old Testament reading the people of Israel are promised a ruler who will stand firm with the strength of God. The prophet Micah, who is a great preacher of social justice, announces that the king who will rule in the line of David will come from the small insignificant place of Bethlehem-Ephratha. This promised ruler will shepherd the people.
In the Gospel, Mary who is pregnant with Jesus travels to visit Elizabeth, who is with child. We sense the expectancy of the journey and the excitement of the arrival when Mary greets Elizabeth. The infant in Elizabeth’s womb leaps for joy when she hears Mary’s greeting. Elizabeth is filled with the Holy Spirit and she speaks a profound truth calling Mary blessed and the Mother of the Lord.
The gospel exposes the awesome mystery of the incarnation — God made flesh in the birth of Jesus. The gospel announces the great event of Christ’s coming in the flesh.
Let us simply and quietly contemplate Emmanuel–God with us.