Fourth Sunday of Advent

Sunday, December 24th


2 Sam 7: 1-5, 8-12, 14, 16
Ps 89: 2-5, 27, 29
Rom 16: 25-27
Lk 1: 26-38


“…for nothing will be impossible for God.” Luke 1:37

I can never read the story of Jesus’ unusual conception without reflecting that God’s ways are truly not ours. Why, I wonder, would God place Mary in the untenable position of being pregnant outside of marriage? I have since come to treasure this mystery because it upends the power dynamics so prevalent in human societies. Consider Sojourner Truth’s 1851 speech: “Where did your Christ come from? From God and a woman! Man had nothing to do with Him.” In the Women’s Bible Commentary, Jewish New Testament scholar Amy Jill Levine observes that Jesus’ unconventional birth “indicates the restructuring of the human family: outside of patriarchal models it is not ruled by nor even defined by a male head of household.” In the messianic age, “family” would become newly defined for Christians as deriving from God’s power to save through Jesus, rather than through any human power. True power comes first from God—through the self-emptying love of Jesus—not from entrenched human power systems.

Christmas is a great time to celebrate Jesus’ unpredictable God, who so often confounds our human expectations.
It can be scary. It can also be liberating.


O God, let your Spirit overshadow me, so that like Mary, I too may
birth Christ’s self-emptying love within your beautiful,
beloved universe.

Personal Challenge

How will you witness to Jesus’ unpredictable God in a world so deeply in need of transforming grace?

Sister Christine Schenk, CSJ
Cleveland, OH

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