Is everybody ready for Christmas? NO????
Are there things that YOU still have to do?
Well God is going to give you a break today!
Listen to the first reading. King David is all settled in his palace, the war is over, God has given him rest from his enemies. David has some free time on his hands and he gets this grand idea that he needs to do something else -so he decides he is going to build a temple for God to dwell in! And God says:
"Should you build me a house to dwell in?"
God’s almost laughing at the absurdity of what David is trying to do himself. And the prophet Samuel goes into this wonderful Litany from God:
“It was I who took you from the pastureI have been with you wherever you went, and I have destroyed all your enemies before you.And I will make you famous like the great ones of the earth.I will fix a place for my people Israel;I will plant them so that they may dwell in their placewithout further disturbance.I will give you rest from all your enemies.I will raise up your heir after you, sprung from your loins,and I will make his kingdom firm.I will be a father to him,and he shall be a son to me."
On this 4th Sunday of Advent, God is revealing to us that it is not about what WE do for Christmas it is about what HE does for us.
So often we think that we have to do all the work, that we have to get everything right for God to be with us. We think that for this to be a Merry Christmas, we have to make it that way. And the Merrier we try to make it the more miserable it seems to get. We try to control and make it happen. We try to please everyone, to have the most lights we’ve ever had before, all of the decorations out, or make sure that everyone is there and happy and dressed up. We just want it to be a Merry Christmas, but we fail to see every year that by our efforts alone nothing seems to work out. We get disappointed, frustrated, exhausted, angry, upset, anxious, and give into despair because it seems so impossible. But as we hear the angel speak to Mary “Nothing will be impossible for God.” … For GOD!
If the prophet Samuel were to speak to us today, maybe the Litany from God would sound something like this...
It is I that has given you your families, your friends, those you hold dear. It is I that brought you together. It is I that have healed you when you have hurt each other or gone astray. It is I who has helped you to grow in love and freedom. It I who have redeemed you from the life that you used to live. It is I who has helped you to raise your children. It is I who has shaped you into the beautiful person that you are. It is I who has given you the house that you live in, the money that you have, the job that you hold.
It is I who am preparing a place in your heart for Me to come and dwell this Christmas. It is I who give you the ability to work using these gifts and talents that I give you to create and build and dream. It is I who am working providentially in your lives in the midst of the struggles that you find yourself right now. It is I who choose not to dwell in a temple but in your heart, in the your families, and in the messiness of life. It is I who am with you all the time in the suffering and pain and it is I who give you joy and laughter in the midst of it. I give you this parish and this community of people to care for you. I invite you into a deeper love with Me this Advent.
I will redeem your families. I will place special people into your lives to be family to you -mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, and children. And better yet, I myself will be a Father to you. It is I that will heal your hurts. It is I that will free you from your addictions. It is I that will protect your children. It is I that will take care of the people that are picking on you or hurting you. It is I that will help you out of the abusive relationships that you are in. It is I that will make sense out of suffering and death. It is I who will redeem what seems to be hopeless. I know you are hurting and I will bring healing. It is I that will touch that place of hurt that is torn so much from the loss of the one you love. It is I who will put an end to the bickering in your families. It is I who will bring home the prodigal child. It is I who will heal your marriage. It is I who will let you be at peace with being by yourself. It is I who will be with you when you are lonely. It is I who will give you good shepherds, people in your life to lead you and guide you. It is I who will heal you in the Sacrament of Confession when they disappoint or you disappoint them. It is I who you will receive today, My Body and Blood in the form of bread and wine. It is I…
Where do you find yourself saying I need to do this… or I have to get this done… or I should have done that… or I want to build this or complete that? I should be this… where do you find yourself trying to build or do what only God can do? Sometimes we find ourselves like David, we get some huge idea of something that we think we have to do and we drive ourselves nuts and everyone along with us. Maybe we think we have to have everything right in our house, everything done so it will be a perfect Christmas. Maybe we try to possess or manipulate people to get what we want. To be here or there or do this or that. Or we try to make it how we think it needs to be. We agonize over getting the perfect gift, the shopping done, the house cleaned, the food baked, the tree decorated… but is God asking all of this of us? Are we being like David and trying to build a temple when God is only asking us to say yes to Him as Mary did -to let Christ be born in us? Is He asking anything more of us than to just love and be gentle with those that he has placed in our lives?
So when we find ourselves getting caught up in trying to build our own temples, may we remember the wisdom of the prophet:
“Go, tell my servant David, ‘Thus says the LORD:
Should you build me a house to dwell in?’
No… IT IS I. It is I who will use this Advent to make this for you a Very Merry Christmas. IT IS I.