Fourth Sunday of Advent – B
The Feast of Christmas is almost here. Maybe there is a person or two on your list that you still don’t have a gift for. Maybe you are feeling kind of frantic – that almost anything you can wrap up will do. Even a “Chia Pet” or “The Clapper” can look awfully good.
But there are shoppers who have really done their homework. All through the year they have been listening for little hints as to what you really would like, and they made their notes. Then for their Christmas shopping they know exactly what they are going to buy.
Now, that is great planning. But, on Christmas morning when you open their gift, there is no surprise. You already told them what you wanted, and they got it for you.
There are other people who look upon shopping for you as a graced opportunity. They try to imagine what might please you – something perhaps that you would never buy for yourself.
And then on Christmas morning, when you open their package, there is a moment of surprise, and maybe a tear or two develops, because the person giving you that gift is saying: “I really love you. You mean the world to me!”
God is not to be outdone in surprises. God has given us a gift we could not even begin to imagine! He gave us His Divine Son, Jesus.
And there is a surprise in today’s Gospel. It is the account of the Annunciation, of the Angel Gabriel coming to Mary and asking her to be the mother of God’s Son.
Mary never expected this – who would ever dream of an angel coming with a message like this one? And to a little town called Nazareth? We might more properly call Nazareth a “hamlet.” Or as they say down South, “It’s a place where the road just gets a little wider.”
Mary was a teenager, and the angel had an astonishing message from God for her: “Mary, I really love you. You mean the world to me. And I would like you to be the human mother of my Divine Son.”
And Mary – surprised, but full of faith – replied: “I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.
The surprises were not over for Mary. The angel did not reveal the whole picture. Her “yes” at the Annunciation to the Angel Gabriel was something that Mary would need to repeat constantly throughout her life: “Yes, Lord. Yes, Lord. Yes, Lord.” Jesus did some things and said some things that were surprising even to Mary. Jesus did things and said things that are still surprising to our world.
But Jesus came to us at Bethlehem. A great surprise – a great gift that we ponder every year. Jesus says to us: “I really love you. You mean the world to me!”
Let the gifts that you give and the gifts that you receive remind you of the most amazing and personal gift of all: the gift of God’s only Son, our Savior, born for us of the Virgin Mary in Bethlehem on Christmas Day.
And in all of your Christmas celebrations, hear God say to you: “I really love you. You mean the world to me!”
Christmas tells us surprisingly that we do.
<strong></strong><h3 align=”center”><strong>CHRISTMAS DAY</strong></h3><h2 align=”center”><strong><a href=”http://discovermass.com/church/st-joseph-amherst-oh/#bulletins” target=”_blank”><img class=” wp-image-6862 aligncenter” alt=”image” src=”https://stjosephamherst.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/image.jpg” width=”161″ height=”208″ /></a></strong></h2><h2 align=”center”><strong><a href=”http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/121717.cfm” target=”_blank”>Isaiah 61: 1-2a, 10-11</a></strong></h2>