There is nothing quite like having a gift package opened with a gasp of surprise and a voice of sheer delight exclaim, “Just what I wanted!” It’s like there is a bond created between the giver and the receiver; one knowing what the other wants and needs while the other is able to identify the item given as something pleasing and desired. As we wrap up the final week of Advent, what is it that we truly want for Christmas?
The Son of God was born over 2,000 years ago, and while Christmas is a celebration of that historic moment, it’s also a celebration of the way Jesus comes to us today. Physically, He is here in the Eucharist. Spiritually, He is in every Sacrament, conferring special graces on us based on the nature of the sacrament received. Jesus creates a bond of brotherhood with us through the sacraments of initiation, heals us with sacraments of reconciliation and anointing, and sends us on a mission with marriage or holy orders. When we seek ways to strengthen our relationship with Him during the Advent season, we turn away from what we want and turn to what others need. We look to imitate Jesus, to bring the light of His Presence to our little pinhead area of the world.
The four weeks of Advent are a spiritual journey to take a break from the everyday and open our hearts to a deeper relationship with God. For some it may be a struggle just to get into a regular routine of reaching out to God in daily prayers. Even those with consistent prayer habits need to pause and see how they can dig further and open more of their bodies/minds/souls/wills to God’s call. No matter how old we get or how much experience we gain, there is alway some sort of improvement we can make in our relationship with God. The journey we take is one from self-love to selfless-love. At the end of it, what we want is nothing less than Jesus our Savior.
As Christmas draws closer, sometimes we need to double our efforts so they do not get lost in the rush of decorating/cooking/buying/wrapping/partying that is expected for the celebration. Central to the celebration is the Mass, which is the gift Jesus gives us. It’s literally the name of the feast: Christ’s Mass. It’s not meant to be one item on a checklist, to be completed as early as possible then not given another thought. Rather it should be the cornerstone of the festivities; to be the source of joy which flows over to all other activities.
Let us prepare to receive Jesus Christ into ourselves in the Eucharist as well as into our families and friendships with our celebrations. Let us delight in receiving Him, knowing He fulfills our every need. Let us joyfully exclaim, “He is just what I wanted!” as we receive the most perfect gift of all.