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Sunday, November 30, 2008

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First Sunday of Advent

Isaiah 63:16-17, 19; 64:2-7
1 Corinthians 1:3-9
Psalm 80
Mark 13:33-37

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christmas fear

"There is none who calls upon Your name, who rouses himself to cling to You." —Isaiah 64:6

Happy new year! Today we begin the Church year and the season of Advent. We begin to prepare for what could be one of the greatest events in our lives, Christ's Christmas coming. Christ will come in glory and power this Christmas if only we have faith to open the door. Will we open our hearts to the Lord as He comes to "rend the heavens and come down, with the mountains quaking" before Him? (Is 63:19) Are we open to "awesome deeds we could not hope for, such as they had not heard of from of old"? (Is 64:2-3) "No ear has ever heard, no eye ever seen" what the Lord has prepared for us this Christmas (Is 64:3).

If we're honest with ourselves, we may be afraid of Christ and Christmas, for "it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God" (Heb 10:31). We're tempted to hide from God (Gn 3:10) in Christmas customs, activities, and even in mindless consumerism. There's a Herod in each of us that's threatened by and afraid of Christ and Christmas. We must change, repent, and die to self. We need time to let Him change our hearts. We need the four-week preparation of Advent, or we will run away from Christ and a true Christmas.

Prayer:  Father, strengthen us to the end so that we "will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus [Christ]" (1 Cor 1:8).

Promise:  "Yet, O Lord, You are our Father; we are the clay and You the Potter: we are all the work of Your hands." —Is 64:7

Praise:  Praise Jesus, the coming Messiah, Whose birth was foretold in ages past!

Reference:  (Is your family ready for Christmas? A related teaching would be our leaflet, Healing the Family Tree.)

Rescript:  †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, May 1, 2008

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