Fourth Sunday in Advent
This Sunday we ordinarily celebrate Mary. Mary was "ordinarily sacred."
Who was more ordinary than Mary, a simple, unassuming peasant woman from nowhere-Nazareth? But it is her very ordinariness that provides such a perfect fit for the extraordinary work of the Holy Spirit in her life. It was in her quiet, unremarkable, day-to-day life that Mary "found favor with God."
This is the true miracle of Christmas. Jesus was not some glow- in-the-dark Christ-Child. Jesus, the very God incarnate, was a real, live, ordinary, crying, cooing, sleeping, eating, wetting, pooping baby. And just as with all babies, his greatest need was to be held in human arms, touched by human hands, soothed by human words of love and reassurance.
At Christmas we are all called to birth and cradle Christ in our own lives -- to wrap our arms around our faith. When we birth and cradle Christ in our own ordinary lives by faith, we find our arms wrapping around others who need Christ birthed and cradled in their lives.
Emmanuel means "God with us." But more than that, Emmanuel means God does not keep us at arm's distance. God is with us with open arms and with hands on us.
If Christ is born in us this Christmas, we too will reach with open arms to those in need; we too will have a hands-on relationship with life and love.