“Hark! My lover—here he comes!"
- Song of Songs 2:8
The time before Christmas is magical as kids roam the stores seeing Santa and his presents, lighting the candles of the Advent wreath as Christmas gets closer week by week, putting up the Christmas tree and hanging ornaments as a family, setting up the nativity scene in the living room, and watching our neighbors decorate their snow-dusted houses with Christmas lights to shine for all to see. There is an inevitable aura that surrounds Christmas year after year. “Hark! My lover—here he comes!” Jesus is on his way! How similar does this sound to the familiar Christmas lyrics “Hark the herald angels sing ‘Glory to the newborn King!’”? We look forward in hope to Christ’s coming with JOY.
In today’s Gospel, upon hearing Mary’s greeting, John exuberantly leaps in Elizabeth’s womb. Elizabeth and her babe-to-be knew of Christ’s Presence among them before Mary even told them that she was with child. Elizabeth calmly anticipated Mary as she travelled to the hill countryside to visit her. Overjoyed by Mary reaching her destination and overwhelmed by her womb’s reaction to Mary’s greeting, Elizabeth cries out “blessed is the fruit of your womb” (Luke 1:42). There is jubilance in Elizabeth’s loud cry to Mary because she has patiently awaited Mary’s arrival and now the time has come; she is here! Just as they prepared to visit each other, now they both prepare for the entry of the King of kings, the Holiest of holies, the great I Am into our world—there is an aura that surrounds Christ’s coming.
Just as Mary gave her fiat that led to the Incarnation, so must we say “yes” to follow Jesus in his daily coming into our lives. “Arise, my beloved, my dove, my beautiful one, and come!” (Song of Songs 2:10). Jesus is calling out to us, and he is asking us to ready ourselves for his coming—he calls to us to follow Him. Where do you find the aura of joy as you prepare for Christmas? How is Christ asking you to follow Him? How are you responding?
Let us pray,
Fill us we pray, Lord, with your light and life that we may show forth your wondrous glory. Grand that Your Joy may so fill our lives, that we count nothing too small to do for you, nothing too much to give, and nothing too hard to bear.
This reflection was written by Natalie Ryan
Natalie Ryan is a wife, a young adult Catholic, and a lover of all baby animals. She loves to cozy up to a hot cup of tea with any Thomas Merton book. Natalie is originally from Indianapolis and she is now working at a parish as a secretary of Religious Education in a Chicago suburb. She is also studying to become a Spiritual Director at Mayslake Ministries to walk the journey of faith with Christ's people.