Today’s Advent Reading:
USCCB – December 20th

Advent is a time when we can appreciate Jesus’ value by thinking on his absence. Apart from God, we sit in darkness; we have no other hope than to wait for God.

Even as we wait, though, our darkness is not complete: God gives us a sign. In the narrative of Isaiah (excerpted in the lection: Isaiah 7:10–14), Ahaz refuses to receive a sign from the Lord. The Lord had offered anything Ahaz to choose anything as a sign, but Ahaz refused. Frustrated, Isaiah gave this as the sign from the Lord: “The young woman is pregnant and will give birth to a child.”

What a mundane thing! Yet God comes to us in simple ways. We do not need to spend our days waiting for God to appear in what we would consider miraculous ways. God came to us simply as a child—as one of us.

“The young woman will give birth to a child”: God comes to us in weakness. God took the nature of a human being, with its physicality and brokenness, and visited us in the same condition as ourselves. By taking on flesh, Christ gives us strength in our mortality, enabling us to endure all things for the sake of God’s kingdom. Jesus is truly Emmanuel, “God with us.”

But Christ does more than merely come to us: he lifts us up to God. Through Christ, we have become, like the Virgin Mary, full of grace and highly favored. Through Christ’s coming, we have been made worthy, as today’s psalmody says, to ascend the hill of the Lord; our hands have been cleansed and our hearts have been purified. Christ gives us strength not only to face our own struggles, but to become reflections of God. Our own transformation allows us—compels us—to shine the light of Christ’s love on others.

Our King and Savior now draws near: O come, let us adore him. Amen.

Micah Walter is a second-year student at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.