Sunday, December 24, 2023
Luke 1:26 - 38
This is the fourth time we have had this Gospel reading in Advent. Why? What is the Church trying to tell us?
Reading the story of the Annunciation on the final Sunday in Advent gives us another chance to let this moment in salvation history sink deep into our hearts and penetrate our minds. Repeating it, rather than being simply redundant, can help us to retain it long after Christmas day.
Every part of the Scripture is familiar but astonishing. The appearance of the angel. The astounding greeting. The significance of Jesus’ human lineage. Mary’s conception by the power of the Holy Spirit. The virgin’s fiat.
The infant Son of God.
I think this final Gospel reading in Advent presents us with a challenge. Not to manufacture a feeling or even try to comprehend anything intellectually. I think it is another push by the Holy Spirit to consider surrendering our hearts entirely to God, as Mary did, and then become Christ-bearers to the world.
Try this: In preparation for Christmas, together with your family, pray the words the angel Gabriel spoke to the Virgin Mary.
“Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”