December 20: Fourth Sunday of Advent. Readings: 1. 2 Samuel 7:1-5,8-12,14,16; Psalm: 89; 2. Romans 16:25-27; Gospel: Luke 1:26-38.
As we enter the final week of Advent, these biblical texts ably prepare us for what we are about to commemorate.
The extract from 2 Samuel presents Nathan, God’s agent and mouthpiece, relaying to King David the important news of a secure, enduring future; a promise of continuous divine protection and guidance. David’s kingship and royal house are therefore set up as a divinely-established line for the future well-being of Israel. The focus of this forward-looking prophecy is most appropriate as we complete our preparation for the Christmas festivities.
The glory that is due our Lord and God at this special time is also appropriate. Today, Paul’s three verses that conclude his letter to the Romans sum up the honour and respect we are to profess dutifully in these days. They are verses that observe in the person of Jesus Christ the glorious revelation of a mystery preserved for centuries, but then brought into full view in a specific time and place. Paul knew this mystery well, and so wanted all the world to rejoice in the unveiling of the gospel he preached.
In Luke, the angel Gabriel’s appearance to Mary is an extraordinary moment in the revelation of God’s plan. It is a scene that makes known the powerful presence of the Almighty. It describes the astonishment which the angel’s announcement occasions. That the Son of the Most High should be born of the Virgin Mary is indeed a mystery our faith and calls us to welcome and to give due honour. Because her husband Joseph is of King David’s line, the son to be born is the first reading’s promise fulfilled.
Our readiness for the festal observance of Christmas is almost complete. Today’s texts from Scripture are therefore a helpful aid in our spiritual preparation for what is only days away.