Judges 13:2-7, 24-25a
Most of our attention in the Christmas story goes to Mary and Joseph and Jesus, but in today’s Scripture readings we are invited into the lives of two other families who experience the wonderful gift of new life. In the Book of Judges the parents of Samson receive the surprise announcement from an angel that is repeated twice in the Gospel of Luke. Elizabeth and Zechariah meet the same Angel Gabriel today who carries the same good news. You are chosen by God! You will bear a child! Then, of course, Gabriel visits Mary.
Advent and Christmas are God’s ways of sending a powerful signal of hope to remind us that life is stronger than death. Light is more powerful than darkness. Good is more powerful than evil. God’s blessings will replace barrenness in the Kingdom that is coming. That’s the message of Christmas!
Aren’t there hundreds of Christmas stories again this season? I heard yesterday that in early January there will be a sit-down dinner with all the living U.S. presidents, past, present and future. They will gather at the White House for a pre-inaugural celebration that will leave behind for the moment their political disagreements. Not as dramatic perhaps as Isaiah’s lion and lamb, but still a minor tableau of the "Peaceable Kingdom."
These are the days to look around and see the wonders of the Lord. They are told in song and story-in the Scriptures, on the evening news, in family gatherings, and if we take the time, in the quiet reflections of our hearts.
Let us pray today’s Psalm response:
My mouth shall be filled with your praise, and I will sing your glory!
I will treat of the mighty works of the LORD;
O God, I will tell of your singular justice.
O God, you have taught me from my youth,
and till the present I proclaim your wondrous deeds.
R. My mouth shall be filled with your praise, and I will sing your glory!
Fr. Jim Strommer, C.P. is on the provincial leadership team and is stationed in Chicago, Illinois.