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“Get Excited!” by Melanie Blaszczak, Fiat Ventures

Flickr User Baker County Tourism

4th Sunday of Advent

It always seems that the couple days before Christmas there is this enormous tension and pressure. People are running around the stores getting their last minute gifts, your family might be preparing food for Christmas Eve dinner, or you are making sure that your decorations outside are as perfect as can be. Maybe you’re really nervous about your family coming over because they always seem to judge you. I know in my family there is enormous pressure to get the best gifts, have the coolest decorations in the neighborhood and the food has to be perfect traditional Polish food. Everyone seems to be at each other’s throats at this time because the atmosphere is just so tense.

This need for perfection leads us away from the true meaning of Christmas. We do not seem to find time to just sit and be and think about our Advent season and the virtues of peace, hope, joy and love.  It leads us away from spending time with our Lord and also our Mother Mary. This season was meant for us to walk with Mary and Joseph as we wait for the joyful coming of our King.

In this week’s Gospel it is the beautiful story of Mary visiting her cousin Elizabeth, who also was pregnant with John the Baptist. We see in the story that when Mary comes to greet Elizabeth the “infant in her womb leaped for joy” because the infant knew that Mary was carrying our Lord. What is really striking in the story is what Elizabeth says to Mary after the greet each other, “and how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me.” This line amazes me because Mary and Elizabeth are cousins, but Elizabeth knew that Mary was not the same as before. There was something different about her. Elizabeth went as far as giving Mary the title, “mother of our Lord.”

When we let Jesus more and more into our life, as Mary did in a very concrete way, there should be something different about us that others notice. Sure, if we hate mustard before we come to know Jesus better, we won’t be putting it on any sandwiches after. If we love coffee, that won’t be changing any time soon (though you might decide to give it up for Lent!) Our likes and dislikes probably won’t change. We won’t wake up with different color eyes or unexpected super powers. But like Elizabeth did with Mary, people should start to see a change in us as we pursue holiness, and hopefully they’ll recognize as Elizabeth did that in a way we’re bringing Jesus to them.

This week let us not forget to sit and really enter into these last few days of Advent. Let us pray that we could really walk in the footsteps of Mary and Joseph days before meeting and holding their son, Jesus, in their arms. Think of how excited and nervous they probably were! As the world waits for our Lord pray that your hearts could receive Him with as much peace, hope, joy and love that Mary and Joseph did, and let us get excited to bring him to others.

Pray that your heart might beam with excitement and then share that joy with all your family and friends because Christmas is not about the perfection of gifts, decorations, or food it is about preparing our hearts to receive Jesus Christ himself.

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