December 20, 2020: A Reflection for the Fourth Sunday of Advent, Year B

2 Samuel 7:1-5, 8b-12, 14a-16; Romans 16:25-27; Luke 1:26-38

. . . the revelation of the mystery kept secret for long ages but now manifested . . . (Romans 16:25b)

“Above all, trust in the slow work of God.” (Teilhard de Chardin) Decembers can feel like that, can’t they, Jesus? The light tapers off a little bit more every day until there is only a predominance of starlit darkness. All that is left to guide the next step is a certitude deep within that all shall be well, as Julian of Norwich would say, if we follow the light given us. And so we get used to walking, not by our own light, but in the certitude that you are at work – in you, in me, in the entire universe – and all is proceeding according to your purpose and design. Nothing can halt the inexorableness of your love hidden for ages in Christ your Son. And we are important in that design.

Todays readings are like drawing back a curtain to reveal your hidden plan from “the beginning.” Your slow work down the ages has been preparing every last thing. Just a look at your genealogy, Jesus, makes us stand in wonder at how strongly yet gently you order all things. Nothing and no one is left out of the mystery kept secret for ages yet now manifested. All and everyone is included in your plan of mercy. You weave us into the tapestry of your love, thread by thread, century by century. And then the curtain parts and for a brief moment your intent is clear: the Son of the Most High is born of a woman full of grace – a simple Jewish girl going about her daily life. And you, the almighty Word, leapt from your royal throne to dwell among us within the trustfulness of her yes.

And here is December once again. The light wanes and we walk in starlight until the day dawns and the centuries of mystery shrouded in your slow and painstakingly loving design are complete in our own world. Our yes is important, too. Your birth in time was an event in the past, yes. What we will soon celebrate is your birth in an ever-deeper way in us – now, today. Help us trust in your slow work and may the stars of December light our way to a deeper yes at Christmas.