Isaiah 40:2

Brothers and Sisters,

The final section of the Old Testament gives us the writings of the prophets.  Prophets had many roles and multiple messages; underneath their whole work is the knowledge that God will again come close to His people.  This certain knowledge motivated their writings and their actions – to prepare the world to receive the Creator.

While they are trying to inspire humanity to be faithful, there is a strong sense that they, the prophets themselves, are desperately hoping to see the Messiah come during their lifetime.  I imagine Holy Prophet Isaiah toward the end of his life urgently trying to live another day just in case the Messiah would come.  I can only imagine the frenzy they would have been in should they have been in Bethlehem for Christmas, when the world first saw the Redeemer’s sacred face.

With that, I’m sure you can understand my annoyance and frustration with secular culture who attempt to re-brand Advent and Christmas as being about parties, presents, or even family and friends.  The purpose of the Advent and Christmas seasons is to celebrate that God is near.  As Saint Paul him self wrote to us:  rejoice, the Lord is near (Philippians 4:4-5).

Indeed, we should celebrate Christ’s propinquity to humanity with our family, with friends, with our neighbors.  Help one another to be more faithful, to come to Mass, to pray always, and to truly act as disciples of Christ.  Yes, celebrate with family and friends – God put them in our lives for a reason after all – but that celebration is not an end in itself.  We reach out to family and friends to bring them closer to Christ and hopefully to strengthen our mutual Faith in the Messiah.

Again hear the words of Saint Paul:  rejoice in the Lord always, the Lord is near (Philippians 4:4-5).

God be near,

Father Jeremy