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Reflections

Advent of Christ

Sr. Ruth Droege, OP, PhD

Advent of Christ

A prayer from GIVE US THIS DAY, The Daily Prayer Book for Today’s Catholic, caught my attention. Its full reading is this “May the advent of Christ sustain us and give us hope in our living of the paschal mystery. “

I must admit I was taken aback by this. The third Sunday of advent is coming up and the prayer seems to imply that we should be thinking ahead to Easter. Easter is not taking up my thoughts right now. The news is full of the danger of the Omicron virus, and the fifteen-year-old student in Michigan charged with murder. Advertisements for Christmas gift-giving vie for my attention. Climate change is an ongoing concern. Why add Easter to the mix?

Having asked the question, I mused over an answer.

Teilhard de Chardin, in his letters to his cousin Marguerite written from the front of World War I, told her that the happiest Christmas night he had ever spent was bedding down in the straw with his men. He confided that he felt at one with the life he shared with them, with their humanity and vulnerability. It was out of love for Christ that Teilhard chose to be a stretcher bearer when he was called up and when he turned down the privileges that came with the rank of chaplain. He believed that God had created the world and all within it, first of all out of love and out of the desire to share our life and to bring us to the fullness of God’s life.

So, some two thousand years ago, Christ was born, wrapped in swaddling clothes, and laid in a manger. This is the unfathomable mystery of God’s love.

One of the hymns we sing this night to honor Christ’s birth is Joy to The World.

Joy to the world! The Lord is come
Let earth receive her King!
Let every heart prepare Him room
And heaven and nature sing
And heaven and nature sing
And heaven, and heaven and nature sing

Fast forward to Easter.  Enduring the Cross is the cost of love.  Through Christ’s passion, death, and resurrection we are bound to creation, to one another, to the Divine, to Love.  The good news of Easter is that God’s reaction to our sinfulness is not wrathful punishment, but rather to embrace it in a willing acceptance of the cross and to redeem it in an outpouring of love for us in the resurrection.

It is in and through Christ that we build a more peaceful and loving world. In union with Christ, we are able to join our partial and finite yes to Christ’s complete and infinite yes.

The hymn Joy to The World is often sung at Masses celebrated on Christmas Eve. This hymn echoes the same sentiments found in the Exultet sung during the Easter Vigil Mass.

Joy to the world! The Lord is come
Let earth receive her King…..
And heaven and nature sing

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