Readings: Fourth Sunday of Advent | USCCB
Today is the fourth Sunday of the shortest possible Advent and, in the evening, Holy Eve. In Austria where I grew up, the Child Jesus (Christkindl) comes on the 24th of December in the evening. I am filled with childhood memories as I write. The tension of entering the room where Christkindl brought the decorated tree and the presents was unbearable! We children had to wait until an angel rang a small silver bell, and we stormed into the room that was tingling with the fragrance of the fresh spruce tree, aglow in the light of candles and sparklers. All afternoon, my father was at work getting everything ready, while my mother and grandmother took us to the afternoon mass. Back at home, Grandma told us fairy tales to keep us busy.
Today, I realize that the most beautiful of fairytales is a true history: God became man to save us out of love. The Baby in Mary’s womb and in the Manger is the Savior of the world. I once heard the story of a man who could not believe in the Incarnation of God. One winter’s day, he saw a lost gaggle of geese land in his garden. He wanted to save them from the intense cold of winter. Again and again, he tried to get them into the warm garage where he would feed them. They were too scared and flew away, only to come back some minutes later. Finally, he decided to imitate a mother bird. He spread his arms under the coat pretending to be a bird with open wings. A wish shot through his head: If only I could be a bird and tell them that I only want their best. I am trying to save them! In that moment, this man understood the Incarnation. He had had his Christmas!
Monsignor Martin Schlag, Professor in Catholic Studies and Business
The Campus Ministry Seasonal Reflections are offered during the liturgical seasons of Advent/Christmas and Lent/Easter. We bring a variety of voices from Students, Faculty and Staff. The perspectives expressed in these reflections are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of Campus Ministry.