This year, the Fourth Sunday of Advent presents to us the gospel of the Visitation. Mary, having conceived Jesus at the moment of the Annunciation, went in haste to the home of her cousin Elizabeth. She went there to help Elizabeth, since the angel Gabriel had told her that Elizabeth was also expecting a child. The baby (John the Baptist) in Elizabeth’s womb leaped for joy at the sound of Mary’s voice, and Mary proclaimed her Magnificat, a joyful song of praise to the Lord.
That is how Mary’s Advent was: a time of serving others, bringing joy (and bringing Christ himself) to others, and prayerfully singing the praise of God. What a beautiful example for us! During this final week before Christmas we also can serve and help those who need our help; we can joyfully bring Christ to others; and we can prayerfully sing the praise of God. In all these ways, we prepare ourselves for a more complete coming of Jesus’ grace to our hearts and souls at Christmas time.
If your Advent practices are going well, that is great. If they have fallen by the wayside, it’s not too late to take them up again so that the last week before Christmas may truly be a holy time. The more we prepare for Christ during Advent, the more completely we will have Christ in Christmas; and the more we put Christ in Christmas, the more authentic and lasting joy we will experience during this season and beyond.