Living in Hope – A Reflection for the 4th Sunday of Advent

By Sister Donna Fannon, MHSH

It’s almost Christmas!  There are just a few more days now.  Are you ready?

What exactly is it that you are preparing for?   Is it the big family dinner, opening all the presents, and, oh yeah, the midnight Mass with all the familiar carols or the children’s Mass and the annual Christmas Pageant?

And how have you been spending your time with these efforts?  Is it all about “shop ‘til you drop,” arranging the decorations, what you are going to wear?  Is it making sure you have the perfect gift?  Has there been any time to simply sit with the great mystery of the coming of Jesus Christ into the world?  To wonder and to ponder this great mystery of our faith?  To consider how to welcome Jesus into your life in a new way?

Advent 4th Sunday-Wreath4Have you taken time to relish this Advent season?  To wonder why Advent is situated at the end of the calendar year when days grow short, the weather gets colder, and the darkness increases?   These natural events can be seen as images of hopelessness.  When we live without hope, we live for the moment, we lose a sense of community and compassion, and we look out only for ourselves.  The scripture readings for Advent can show us a way to live in hope.

In this Sunday’s Gospel from Matthew, we hear the story of Joseph and his dream.  At that time Joseph had a dilemma: he had known that Mary was pregnant and that the child was not his.   He could have called for a public inquiry in order to save his reputation, but that would leave Mary subject to death.  Instead, he chose to divorce Mary quietly.  But, as a result of his dream, Joseph chose to do as the angel requested:  to take Mary into his home and to name the child.

Joseph chose to live in a mystery he did not quite understand.  Isn’t that what people of faith do every day?

Questions for reflection:

  • What gets in the way of spending time with the Lord each day?  Can you ask the Lord to for the grace of perseverance in prayer?
  • Can you recall some experiences that draw you into a sense of wonder and awe?  How do you respond to these experiences?
  • How do you live with a sense of hope?
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One Response to Living in Hope – A Reflection for the 4th Sunday of Advent

  1. Christmas panic and rush stands in the way! However, if we simply contemplate the relationships are more important than ‘things -gifts’, our world perspective changes for us!
    I really like the idea of ‘mystery’. I agree with Fr. Karl Rahner that contemporary society has ‘lost’ our sense of mystery; thus, we struggle with comprehending the ‘One Great Mystery’ – God! Let us open ourselves to wonder, surprise and joy! Let us never take one moment for granted! Each day and moment is pure gift! Let us not be sad! Let us ‘rejoice’!

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