Fourth Sunday of Advent

Sunday, December 23rd


Mi 5: 1-4a
Ps 80: 2-3, 15-16, 18-19 (4)
Heb 10: 5-10
Lk 1: 39-45


Christmas is almost here, Christ coming to be one OF us, one WITH us. Mary travels WITH HASTE (Greek meta spoudes also translates “very thoughtfully.”) to the hill country. Do you sense the exultation of the two women as they meet?

Jesus, not yet fully formed in Mary’s womb, brings JOY in this moment of recognition. Elizabeth names this leaping joy. The action of Elizabeth’s unborn child reminds us of Rebekah’s children (Gen. 25:22 ff) and David’s dance before the Ark (2 Sam. 6:16) as well as the messianic joy among the poor (Is. 35:6, Ps. 114: 6, Mal. 3:20).

Last Christmas I received an oil painting of Jesus in the manger. The babe covered the entire canvas! Naming the original, “This Enormous Child,” I saw not only Incarnation but the entire Christ event. Great things are happening, unheard of… in today’s gospel. These continue as we pray the Infancy Narratives and throughout the church year, to resurrection and transformation.


O Emmanuel, our King and Giver of Law: come to save us, Lord our God!

Personal Challenge

Today I will be alert for hidden gifts wrapped in ordinary events. Will I be Mary bringing another joy? Or Elizabeth naming the leaping joy among us?

Sister Cynthia Sabathier, CSJ
Baton Rouge, LA

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