2 Samuel 7:1-5, 8-12, 14, 16
Once David had settled into his house and the Lord had given him rest from all the enemies surrounding him, the king said to the prophet Nathan, ‘Look, I am living in a house of cedar while the ark of God dwells in a tent.’ Nathan said to the king, ‘Go and do all that is in your mind, for the Lord is with you.’
But that very night the word of the Lord came to Nathan:
‘Go and tell my servant David, “Thus the Lord speaks: Are you the man to build me a house to dwell in? I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep, to be leader of my people Israel; I have been with you on all your expeditions; I have cut off all your enemies before you. I will give you fame as great as the fame of the greatest on earth. I will provide a place for my people Israel; I will plant them there and they shall dwell in that place and never be disturbed again; nor shall the wicked continue to oppress them as they did, in the days when I appointed judges over my people Israel; I will give them rest from all their enemies. The Lord will make you great; the Lord will make you a House. And when your days are ended and you are laid to rest with your ancestors, I will preserve the offspring of your body after you and make his sovereignty secure. I will be a father to him and he a son to me; if he does evil, I will punish him with the rod such as men use, with strokes such as mankind gives. Your House and your sovereignty will always stand secure before me and your throne be established for ever.”’
Glory to him who is able to give you the strength to live according to the Good News I preach, and in which I proclaim Jesus Christ, the revelation of a mystery kept secret for endless ages, but now so clear that it must be broadcast to pagans everywhere to bring them to the obedience of faith. This is only what scripture has predicted, and it is all part of the way the eternal God wants things to be. He alone is wisdom; give glory therefore to him through Jesus Christ for ever and ever. Amen.
The angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the House of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. He went in and said to her, ‘Rejoice, so highly favoured! The Lord is with you.’ She was deeply disturbed by these words and asked herself what this greeting could mean, but the angel said to her, ‘Mary, do not be afraid; you have won God’s favour. Listen! You are to conceive and bear a son, and you must name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David; he will rule over the House of Jacob for ever and his reign will have no end.’ Mary said to the angel, ‘But how can this come about, since I am a virgin?’ ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you’ the angel answered ‘and the power of the Most High will cover you with its shadow. And so the child will be holy and will be called Son of God. Know this too: your kinswoman Elizabeth has, in her old age, herself conceived a son, and she whom people called barren is now in her sixth month, for nothing is impossible to God’ ‘I am the handmaid of the Lord,’ said Mary ‘let what you have said be done to me.’ And the angel left her.
“let what you have said be done to me.”
As we prepare for the coming of Christ, it is perhaps timely to look back on the year gone by and reflect on all we have received and achieved through His graces. During the year, as we face the challenges thrown at us at work, in the home and in ministry, we tend to question God and wonder if He truly is the kind, generous, loving God that we all profess.
Because for me, it has been a year filled with strife, anger, betrayal, greed, broken family relationships and death; at least for the people I love and care for. I have been a bystander and ‘occasional’ cheerleader/psychologist/peacemaker/problem solver. And it has been emotionally tiring. Yet, in hindsight, He has certainly shown me the power of love and how taking a Christ-like aproach to situations can actually free us from perceived constraints or unwarranted restrictions which we place on ourselves.
It is amazing how He has led me through the year quietly, without much fanfare, and yet, I feel as if I have achieved much more than humanly possible. From the relative successes at work, to a growing faith and confidence in my role in ministry, I have been mightily rewarded for allowing Him to lead and listening to His promptings along the way.
It has not been easy though as the choices are sometimes difficult. But in the quiet of the adoration room or even in the solitude of my office when the door is closed, He has certainly been lighting my path more clearly. And, in hindsight, what He has said He would do has certainly resulted in my current state – one of peace, gratefulness and immense love — in spite of all that is ahead (e.g. I have yet to buy all my presents but am not worried; and yet to buy the ingredients we need for Xmas Eve dinner).
Brothers and sisters, perhaps being Christ-like brings us a different perspective in terms of how we should approach life here on earth. We had to cut short a recent family holiday as a dear uncle passed away the morning we left Singapore. Ordinarily, we would have lamented the fact that we would have ‘one day less to enjoy ourselves’ but all five of us somehow just agreed to come back a day early to attend the funeral. And we were all at peace. Today, we sent him off to paradise with a simple, heartfelt mass. And we were all at peace.
As you listen to Him call from the manger tonight, I wish all of you the peace, love and joy of Christ.
(Today’s Oxygen by Desmond Soon)
Prayer: Dear Father, help us to discern the cry of Jesus as we prepare our hearts for His arrival.
Thanksgiving: We give thanks for Mary and Joseph. May they always be shining examples of what it means to be a true Christ-centred family.