Friday, December 14, 2018

Rejoice!


It’s the third Sunday of Advent, yikes!  Where does the time go?  Are all my gifts bought and wrapped? Are all my homemade goodies made?  Do I have my dinner planned or at least have all my ingredients? Have I forgotten someone I need to get a gift for? Did I get that gift for the giving tree?  Am I ready? 

It’s a lot to think about but if you look at this weekend’s readings the message is clear…It’s all going to be okay.  Thank heavens for the soothing and supportive words from this weekend’s readings, they couldn’t have come at a better time.  The first reading from Zephaniah says “The King of Israel is in your midst you have no further misfortune or fear”, have no fear for God is with you, what a welcoming thought. Try to remember that when you’re standing in line at the check-out  counter waiting patiently while in the back of your mind you’re thinking about having to pick up the kids or get something before the store closes or be on time to meet your friends.  Have no fear! God is with you! 

The psalm again tries to allay our worries and our fears by reminding us that “God is indeed our savior; I am confident and unafraid”.  Be confident and unafraid?  The holidays are really nothing to fear however the immense pressure we put on ourselves to get it all in is stressful and can be overwhelming.  How about adding to that phrase by holding on to the thought that God is good and to “be confident and unafraid” that it will all get done, you won’t miss anything and if you do it will still be okay!  If that isn’t enough to help you through the often stressful preparation for the holidays then you should take a look at the second reading to the Philippians which says “Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”  Have no anxiety? That’s a tall order you’re thinking.  It’s the holidays and stress comes with the territory.  That may be so but remind yourself how wonderful it is that the peace of God which surpasses all understanding is protecting your heart and mind with all there is to do and think about.  

And if you’re still missing the message then go straight to the Gospel of Luke 3:10-18.  The crowds are bewildered as they don’t know what to do. They need guidance and focus.  John the Baptist instructs them, he tells them to share what they have, he tells tax collectors to “stop collecting more than what is prescribed” he tells them to “be satisfied with your wages”.    We are not tax collectors and we have every intention of being the best givers this Christmas so what would John tell us if he were here right now? He would probably say, stop running about trying to do everything, be mindful, be happy with what you have accomplished and stop taking on more things than prescribed; be satisfied!  Good thoughts John and amen to that!  

Ok, so there you have it, in each reading on this third Sunday of Advent, the same messages are trying to reach you, listen to them!  Rejoice, and be less anxious, and be at peace.  I know this is not easy and we go through this every year with the same struggles but do try to lessen that stress and focus on the goodness of God, the joy of His coming and the salvation to come and the rest will mercifully fall into place.


By: Mary Juliano-Hayes

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