Sunday, December 23, 2007

Christmas Countdown, Part 4 – and Final: Merry Christmas!

Well, are you ready for Christmas? Cards sent, presents purchased and wrapped, travel plans made, cookies and baked goods prepared? Little children excited about the arrival of You-Know-Who on Christmas Eve?

Even more important, though – are YOU ready? How has Advent been for you? Were you able to participate in your parish’s Penance Service and celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation? Have you noticed a positive change in your life since the first candle of the Advent Wreath was lit more than three weeks ago? Have you become aware of where the Lord is calling you to change?

Icon of the Nativity of our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ

Since the last entry to this blog, we have celebrated the Winter Solstice (21 December), the shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. On that day the “O” antiphon was “O Radiant Dawn” (sometimes also called “O Dayspring”). Then on Saturday it was “O King of the Nations” and Sunday, “O Emmanuel”.

The countdown for Christmas comes to a close today, Christmas Eve.
With all kinds of “holiday” music at shopping malls and on the radio and TV shows (“A Christmas Story”, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” and, of course, “It’s a Wonderful Life’), we can forget that we really are preparing to celebrate the Messiah’s birthday.

With this last day before Christmas Day, the Eve of the Nativity of the Lord Jesus, what is the gift that you need from the Lord?

Do you need an open heart? An open spiritual ear? A willing spirit to respond to his Word, like the Blessed Virgin Mary or John the Baptist?

What might you still need to surrender to God’s redemptive grace before you can adequately celebrate Christmas? Perhaps today, even in the midst of last minute preparations, you can spend some quiet time with the Lord and ask him what it is you need from him. He might surprise you! (I think he usually does!)

God bless you this Christmas, and all your loved ones. God bless your travels with peace and grace; God bless your gatherings with joy and friendship; God grant your worship with new power and keen awareness; God grant your Christmas with profound awe and wonder of his love and salvation.

Wesołych Świąt Bożego Narodzenia! ¡Feliz Navidad! Fröliche Wiehnachten! Mele Kelikimaka! Vesely Vianoce! Buon Natale! Christos Rozdajutse!/Slavite Jeho! Linksmu Kaledu! Nollaig Shona Dhuit! Sretan Bozić! Maligayamg Pasko! Chung Mung Giang Sinh! Mo’adim Lesimkha! Niibaa' anami'egiizhigad! ºKrismas Njema! I'D Miilad Said! Joyeux Noël!

In whatever language – Merry Christmas!
Christ is born! Glorify him!

O Rising Dawn, radiance of light eternal and Sun of Justice; come, and enlighten those hwo sit in darkness and in the shadow of death!

O King of the Nations and the Desired of all, you are the cornerstone that binds two into one. Come, and save poor humanity whom you fashioned out of clay!

O Emmanuel, our King and Lawgiver, the Expected of the nations and their Savior: Come, and save us O LORD our God!
(Languages used above: Polish, Spanish, German, Hawai'ian, Slovak, Italian, Carpatho-Rusyn, Lithuanian, Irish, Croatian, Tagalog [Philippines], Vietnamese, Hebrew, Ojibway, Ki-Swahili, Arabic, French)

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