Readings: (Christmas Mass During the Night) Isaiah 9:1-6; Psalm 96; Titus 2:11-14; Luke 2:1-14

Wait for the wind and watch for the dawn!
Wait! Watch!

Sunrise over trees with a bright streak of light.Many years ago, a dear friend who was dying told us that she would be in the wind and the sunrise! Images of waiting and watching always come to mind during these Advent days. Watching and waiting are words that resound over and over in the readings at Mass during Advent. For weeks now we have read and listened to “Stay alert! You know not the day of God’s coming…. Keep awake…. Prepare a highway for our God.” For hundreds of years faithful people of God waited for the coming of the Messiah and many missed it. Except for a few shepherds and astrologers, people were not aware of the time of God’s appearing.

On this final day of Advent 2017, I am grateful for faith in God who calls us to go on living in hope. We hope for world peace as the world community of nations stands on the brink of war. We hope for goodness and joy despite the violent and sad stories of people hurting each other. Faith causes me to reflect on times in my life when God appears in a friend or stranger. How do I welcome God into my everyday life? And you? How is it for you?

As a Christmas gift for each one of us let us pray that our eyes be opened to the ways that we can either prevent the flourishing of life or support and nurture life. Let us pray to God that we don’t stand in the way of God’s life coming into the world in the enthusiasm of passionate activists working to make the world a better place. May God save us from making comments that crush new ideas and that put down creative approaches to problems. Let us watch and wait for God to enable us to encourage new ways of thinking. Always there are opportunities for us to turn away from old ways and embrace the new.

Life is ever ancient, ever new. Why do we never tire of watching swelling buds emerge from the Christmas cactus and “pink up” before they explode into glorious blossoms? Each spring there is fascination over the quickening of life within the blue egg of a robin just before the shell cracks open. And the sight of a mother-to-be, heavy with child, stirs up memories of our own experiences with new babies in our lives, some years ago – sweet mysteries of life that are ours for a short time. Let us delight in life and deepen our knowledge of God with us.

Amid the shopping, let’s remember our need for stopping to realize and be grateful for all that God has done for us and has ready for us who will receive our God warmly.

As we prepare our hearts for the arrival, the appearing of our God in the flesh, as we put finishing touches on the decorations and gift wrap, may we join all creation standing on tiptoe as we watch for the dawn and wait for the wind to draw us toward the Light of the World!

–Karen Helfenstein, SC

Karen Helfenstein, SCKaren Helfenstein, SC is a nurse and health administrator who has spent most of her life and work in Catholic healthcare. Currently she serves as the Director of Sponsorship Services for the Sisters of Charity of New York.