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Fourth Sunday of Advent

Dec 23

Written by:
12/23/2018 12:00 AM  RssIcon

This Sunday is such a day of anticipation and excitement! Even at Mass, we have things all set and ready to go not only for the celebration of the Fourth Sunday of Advent, but also everything is waiting in the wings to set up for the celebrations of Christmas as well! The excitement is nearly palpable in anticipation!

When I was a child, even when I started seminary and into my first years as a priest, I never recognized the amount of work that goes into preparing for these great feasts. Now as a pastor, there are so many moving parts, many of which I do not even know, that go into our preparations for these events. The Art and Environment has so many things to order. The choirs and music ministry has been rehearsing for weeks. There are lots of homilies to write and prepare. The logistics of moving everything around, etc. It takes a parish to pull off these celebrations! And we are blessed with great teams who execute things so well, it makes it a dream to be here as pastor.

Families, too, have gone about so many preparations. Christmas trees and other decorations are placed with care around the house. Lights hung outside brighten the long winter nights. Lists have been sent off to Santa to be prepared and wrapped, etc.

In all of this, we have this quiet undertone of knowing why we are here during this season: Jesus has come and is born of Mary in the Manger. With all the other chaos, it can be easy to lose sight of the core of this mystery, but when we gather not only today for the Fourth Sunday of Advent, but also in a few days for Christmas, the Gospel passages gently pull us back into the intimacy of these events, the intimacy of God made Man.

A suggestion to keep Christ at the center of the celebrations: read the infancy narrative of Luke’s account of the Gospel as you gather with your family. If that is not possible, read it privately and slowly. If you have the opportunity to read these words with children, stop and ask them what they see in the passage, what their imaginations encounter when the Angel comes to meet Mary, etc.

With teens, it is a chance to hear how they would respond and what would they bring with them during the visit to Elizabeth. Perhaps young men can imagine the situation of either Joseph (in Matthew’s narrative) or Zechariah and how they would respond to the dream or the Angel.

Even if just as a couple, what would it be like to be the inn keeper, the magi, the shepherds, other pilgrims along the road with Mary and Joseph?

The images and stories that we celebrate in these days are so vivid, they really do invite the reader and the listener into a depth of an encounter with Jesus, born some 2,000 years ago and born anew at every Christmas since.

In the hustle and the bustle, in the crazy that can sometimes come with trying to make all the family parties and gatherings, take some time to let Jesus speak to you in the quiet of these small and intimate moments.

And May the coming of the Lord Jesus richly bless you and your families in this great season!
Fr. Kyle Schnippel


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Re: Why do we place a white pall on the casket of the deceased at funeral Masses?
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