Yes, I realize it is only December 23rd, and no, I am not jumping the gun in wishing you all a Merry Christmas.
During this time of the church year we obviously celebrate the awaiting and subsequently the birth of Christ. Does this mean to say Jesus was born on December 25th? Not exactly. However, God with His Providence, ordained a point in time for us to celebrate the Incarnation of His Son - to give us a tangible account of what it was like to journey with Mary, Joseph, and all those present at Christ's birth and then to celebrate with them after the occasion.
In an article this week from the National Catholic Register, the author states:
"God isn't bound by the limitations of space and time that we are...(yet) the Church allows us to meet Christ in a very human way. We are told He is coming as the Church year begins, in Advent. Then we are told He has come. Then He's a child in the readings and feasts from Holy Family to the Epiphany. Then we hear about His teaching and healing ministry before Lent and Easter's celebration of His death and resurrection..."
Yet, in teaching about Advent this past month to my third graders, I stumbled upon something in our Religion books that caught my attention and made me think, even more, about these glorious seasons of Advent and Christmas.
Not only do we celebrate this designated time, but we celebrate Advent in the waiting for Christ to come again, at His Second Coming. Everyday I talked with my students and we reflected on if we are truly ready to meet Christ at the end of our own time. We discussed what it means to "be prepared" and in a writing piece they did on the Christmas and Advent seasons, I was so overjoyed to read about a girl who says she does think about her own life and if she is ready to meet Jesus. Christ's second coming may seem far off and a bit "unreal" however we all will face and end of some sort. To deny this is to wind up being in the same boat many Jews were at the First Coming - many rejected the very One that had been foretold and that had come to save them because they were not prepared.
Yet, there is another Advent and Christmas celebration that is no near to us, but most of us don't even know it's there.
At every moment of the day, the Holy Mass is being celebrated somewhere in the world. After being prepared through not committing mortal sins, listening to the readings and homily, and turning our hearts to God through the Advent of the beginning of the Mass, Jesus comes to us Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. His Incarnation is made present - God enters into the constraints of time and space with the saving act, Incarnation and Resurrection both present at once, to give us a glimpse of what is perpetually celebrated in Heaven. This is why the Eucharist is deemed "Heaven on Earth." It is where Heaven touches Earth and we can be united with God, as we will hopefully be on our Judgement Day.
So, as Michael and I head off to Mass this morning (for which I still need to get out of my robe and get ready for!) I wish you all, on this Sunday, a very Merry Christmas!