The Word Among Us

From The Word Among Us

Saint John of the Cross, Priest and Doctor of the Church (Memorial)

I will turn . . . the dry ground into springs of water. (Isaiah 41:18)

As we mentioned yesterday, you may be feeling a little worried about now. Christmas is a little more than a week away, and you may not have crossed off enough items from your to-do list.

This worry can lead us to skip our times with the Lord. We know we should be praying and reading Scripture, but we just want to hit the ground running every morning.

Yet there is a thirst deep within us that only God can quench, and in today’s first reading, the prophet Isaiah urges us to drink deeply from the well of God’s love. Without his rivers of grace and springs of mercy, we risk becoming like the “bare heights” and the “dry ground” described in this passage. Our hearts become dry and brittle, and we don’t reflect God’s love very well. Perhaps we react to people with impatience or harshness. Maybe we become self-centered or so worried about what we need to do that we forget about the needs of neighbors or coworkers. 

There’s no doubt that this is a busy season, but Advent can be a blessed time as well. It’s a great opportunity to contemplate the faithfulness of our God, who promised the Israelites a Messiah and fulfilled that promise so gloriously in Jesus. Perhaps we can imagine Mary, pregnant and waiting in anticipation for this special child who would change the world. Or we can picture Joseph caring lovingly for his bride. We can meditate on the wonder of the Incarnation, of God loving us so much that he became a man to save us. Times of prayer like these can nourish us and prepare us for the great feast of Christmas. 

Even if you can’t spend as much time in prayer as you’d like, you can always turn your gaze to the Lord during the day. Doing so can help to remind you why you are buying gifts, making special foods, or decorating your home—so that you can welcome Jesus and rejoice in his coming to earth!

This Advent, try to put aside for a while all the to-do items on your list. Start first with the only task that will truly satisfy your heart: time with the Lord!

“Jesus, I want to prepare for your coming this Christmas. Help me to recognize my thirst for you so that I can drink deeply of your love.”

Psalm 145:1, 9-13
Matthew 11:11-15