4th Sunday of Advent (Dec. 18, 2011)

Most churches and many homes have an Advent Wreath, and this week all four candles will be lit. They will burn brightly and illuminate the hole that is in the center of the wreath. Have you ever given any thought to that hole, that empty area? It is so reflective of our human experience.

In every part of life there is always some kind of hole, or emptiness. At times – in a very loving relationship for example – we might feel a deep sense of fullness. Or sometimes we’re very satisfied when we’re in possession of something we’ve wanted for a long time. But sooner or later the hole or empty areas appear. Sometimes they are transitory, sometimes permanent.

That hole is where Jesus can enter the human circle. The hole is where we can find the holy.

In the first reading, David notices a hole in his happiness. He is sitting in a luxurious house while the Ark of the Covenant is sitting outside in a tent. So he decides to build a magnificent temple. But here comes the prophet Nathan, through whom God says, “Whoa there! I’m in charge; you’re not.” God then proceeds to list all the ways he has helped David. David doesn’t have to fill the hole with anything. God was already there.

The same goes for the empty womb of a young woman of Nazareth. Mary was betrothed, and marriage to Joseph was not far off. Perhaps that day when Gabriel appeared, Mary was thinking of a future family. Like Nathan, Gabriel spoke for God, and said: “Whoa there, Mary. You’re going to have a family for sure, but not quite in the way or of the kind you expect.”

If there are holes in your life, there is still time before Christmas for you to recognize them, embrace them, and pray that God will fill them.

I pray that God will gift you with a happy and blessed Christmas!

herb yost reflections

Fr. Herb, C.S.C.

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