In this last full week of Advent, we ask God to fill our hearts with love and lead us through these final days of reflection and preparation.  ‘Waiting in watchful hope’ is a great image for all of us – catechumens, candidates, sponsors – the whole community, journeying together.  Our liturgical prayers are full of cries that we may hear the advent voices and open our minds to the Spirit who prepares us for Christ’s coming.   The voices speak – both the book of Samuel and the Gospel for the 4th Sunday assure us ‘the Lord is with you’… with us on all our ‘expeditions’.   St Paul prays ‘Glory to him who is able to give you the strength to live according to the Good News.. Jesus Christ… the mystery now so clear that it must be broadcast everywhere’..  WIth Mary, we are both awestruck and encouraged.   ‘Nothing is impossible for God’… ‘Let what you have said be done in me’.   With open minds, open to the Spirit, each of these phrases  can resonate with our own lives.     The Liturgy of Advent, the Liturgy of Christmas has the power to gather us, pointing backwards and forwards, celebrating the mystery of God with us, drawing us into that mystery, shaping our belief and our response to life.  As we meet up and share our lives with our families and friends, the effects of the liturgy will spill over and nourishes our relationships in ways we couldn’t begin to put into words – way beyond  the wonderful Christmas dinners we are going to have.  It’s all important! Let’s look around, be aware, bring in those on the edges, and enjoy it – share it –  all!

Let us pray – as the family of God who share in his life.

Father in heaven, creator of all, you ordered the earth to bring forth life and crowned its goodness by creating the family of man.   In history’s moment when all was ready, you sent your Son to dwell in time, obedient to the laws of life in our world.  Teach us the sanctity of human love, shows us the value of family life, and help us to live in peace with all people, that we may share in your life forever.  (ICEL 1998)