By Sarah Damm
“Blessed are you among women,
and blessed is the fruit of your womb.” ~ Luke 1:39-45
As I light the fourth candle on my Advent wreath, I notice the light in the darkness of winter growing brighter. Anticipation is increasing. Jesus is so very near.
I contemplate the miracle that awaits us. And just how surprising and unexpectedly God comes to dwell among us.
The “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6) comes small. He comes quietly.
He is hidden within the little town of Bethlehem, which is “too small to be among the clans of Judah” (Micah 5:1).
His presence is known by only a few:
- His tender Mother, whose quiet, hidden fiat changes the world
- Humble, silent Joseph, who gives everything to protect His new family
A baby in the womb of his holy mother, who leaps for joy at His nearness (Luke 1:41)
- Lowly shepherds, whose simplicity allows them to see so clearly
- A few wise magi, who drop everything to encounter the Messiah
Such small beginnings for the One who is to be ruler and shepherd. Such a meek and humble birth for the One whose name alone is majestic, whose greatness reaches the ends of the earth (Micah 5:1, 3).
And yet, throughout Christ’s life and the life of His Church, He is drawn to those with a spirit of poverty—the small, the simple, the humble, the weak:
- “The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed … it is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs …” (Matthew 13:31-32) ● “ … the last will be first, and the first will be last.” (Matthew 20:16) ● “… he who is least among you all is the one who is great.” (Luke 9:47) ● “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)
If this season of Advent shows us anything, it is that small beginnings are never too small to capture His attention. In fact, His desired work is to find us in our misery and lowliness, reaching up to Him like a small child. Only then can He raise us up to see the dawn of Christmas rising in the east. Only then can we see the path leading to Bethlehem. Only then can we feel the nearness of the Christ Child.
Yes, in meekness and humility, the Lord is born, and great saints are there to greet Him. O come, let us adore Him!
Dear Jesus, at the advent of Your birth, I surrender my pride, my stubbornness, and all the ways I complicate life. I open my heart to a spirit of poverty and simplicity. Keep me attentive in prayer, and prepare my heart to welcome You with open arms and an open heart this Christmas. Amen.
Call to Action
If you have not been to Confession this Advent, run in haste to meet Jesus in this Sacrament of merciful redemption. Do not be afraid! The Savior is waiting to lift you from your lowliness and make you a new creation.
Please note: reflection based on time spend this Advent with Adore by Fr. John Burns
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