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A time of awe and wonder


Advent was a season of waiting, of anticipation, of preparation.

For some.

For many of us, it was a hectic time -- decorating, shopping, cleaning, cooking, going, doing -- anything but the “waiting in silence” we sing of in one of our Advent hymns.

And suddenly, it was Christmas, the Mass of Christ’s birth.

It is a time of wonder and awe. Or it should be.

But do we have time to wonder, awestruck, at the immensity of why we’re celebrating, why we’ve been so busy preparing?

Sometimes, on the fourth Sunday in Advent, we hear this passage from the gospel of St. Matthew: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel, which means ‘God is with us’” (Matt. 1:23).

God is with us.

Think about that.

God is with us.

Of all the ways He had manifested Himself before -- a burning bush, a pillar of cloud or fire, the whisper of a breeze to a prophet -- it was as “other.” Only Adam and Eve had ever experienced God “-- walking in the garden in the cool of the day --” (Gen. 3:8).

Yet, in order to really reach human hearts, to show His great love, He became human.

God is with us.

Should we not sit in wonder and awe, to dwell on this most incredible, amazing gift?

God is with us.

In the busyness of every day. In our joy, in our sorrow. In our triumph, in our failures. In our struggles, in our achievements. In our pain, and in our exhilaration. In our love and laughter, in the excitement as we exchange gifts -- pale comparisons of the greatest gift -- God is with us.

According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church (458), “The Word became flesh so that thus we might know God’s love: ‘In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.’ (1 John 4:9) ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life’ (John 3:16).”

God is with us.

I cannot help but wonder, awestruck. How can I not join the Magi and fall to my knees at this truth?

The God of the universe, who spoke all into being out of His being, is with us.

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