With Christmas Day just a little over a week away, all of us are asking the question, “What are you wishing for this Christmas?” If you were to ask my children, they would say that they are wishing for a marble run, a 4D puzzle, and a Mulan doll. My husband would probably mention something technology-related, and we would both probably say that we would love to have a date night that doesn’t involve holiday parties and school concerts!
All of these Christmas wishes are great, and we have a wonderful time on Christmas day giving and receiving thoughtfully-chosen gifts with our loved ones. However, when all of the presents have been unwrapped and the last morsel of Christmas dinner has been eaten, will we be truly satisfied? Will the longing of our hearts be fulfilled with temporal gifts, or will we be left feeling like something is missing?
What if we asked some different questions during this last week of Advent? What is the longing of your heart this Christmas? Who are you really waiting for? What holes in your life are you asking the Christ-child to fill? What areas of sin do you want to repent of so that you can be made whole again?
The great romance of all time is that God, out of the abundance of His great love for us, sent His only Son to be born of a virgin, in the humblest of conditions in a stable in Bethlehem, to win our hearts back to His. Our Lord so longs for us to return to Him that He has made the path as easy as possible: “A voice cries out: In the desert prepare the way of the Lord! Make straight in the wasteland a highway for our God! Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill shall be made low. The rugged land shall be made plain, the rough country, a broad valley” (Isaiah 40:3). Our Lord has made a straight highway for us out of the wasteland; He has filled in the valleys and leveled the mountains, tamed the rugged wilderness and broadened the narrow country, all so that we can easily find our way back to Him. Although our life may contain many challenges and much suffering, Our Lord promises always to walk with us, and we need look no further than Christ’s manger to know that this is true.
We have one week left in Advent, and soon enough it will be Christmas Day. Until then, let’s take some time to reflect on who we are waiting for, and how we can prepare our hearts in the time that we have left.
Mary, Mother of Our Lord, pray for us!