Today we celebrate the Fourth and final Sunday of Advent. Today most of us are already thinking ahead to Monday. Yet, the Church invites today to still prepare our hearts to receive the best Christmas gift ever! In our readings today we hear of the promise and the fulfillment of God to bring us a Savior. Our first reading from Samuel has God speaking to His prophet Nathan, the counselor to King David, of the things to come. Poignantly put, God will raise up an heir from David’s line whose kingdom will endure forever. Being of the house and lineage of David, Jesus will be the new king, but unlike any other the world has ever known. Today’s Gospel account of the Annunciation reminds us just how God fulfilled the promise of old. Mary is greeted by God’s messenger, Gabriel, with an astounding message. It is through her that God’s plans will unfold, if she is willing to participate. Although a bit perplexed, she is comforted by the angel who reveals how God will work in her. With that we have the perfect response of a disciple, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done according to your word.” At that moment God’s plan to bring us a Messiah and an eternal king begin. Tomorrow we rejoice and celebrate the great birth of Immanuel, God with us, forever and ever. Amen.

Many years ago, I ran across a prayer by the once Chaplain to the U.S. Congress, Dr. Peter Marshall with which I’ll end this week’s column. It’s titled, “We yearn O Father.”

“We yearn, O Father, for the simple beauty of Christmas – for all the old familiar melodies and words which remind of that great miracle when He, who made all things, was one night to come as a Babe, to lie in the crook of a woman’s arm. Before such mystery we kneel, as we follow the Shepherds and Wise Men to bring Thee the gift of our love, – a love we confess, that has not always been as warm, or sincere, or real as it could have been. But on this Christmas morning, that love would find its Beloved, and from Thee receive the grace to make it pure again, warm and real. We bring Thee our gratitude for every token of Thy love.”

On behalf of Fr. Kunz, Sarah and all the staff of Neier, may yours be a Merry Christmas. May He who was born for you be reborn in you this Christmas!

God Bless! Happy Advent!
Please continue praying 3 Hail Marys.

Fr. Pete