Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.
Preparing for the birth of Jesus Christ
Advent is the time we prepare for the coming of the Nativity, the birth of Jesus Christ at Christmas. The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches us about the mystery of this event:
Jesus was born in a humble stable, into a poor family. Simple shepherds were the first witnesses to this event. In this poverty heaven’s glory was made manifest. The Church never tires of singing the glory of this night:
The Virgin today brings into the world the Eternal
and the earth offers a cave to the Inaccessible.
The angels and shepherds praise him
and the magi advance with the star,
For you are born for us,
Little Child, God eternal!
To become a child in relation to God is the condition for entering the kingdom. For this, we must humble ourselves and become little. Even more: to become “children of God” we must be “born from above” or “born of God“. Only when Christ is formed in us will the mystery of Christmas be fulfilled in us. Christmas is the mystery of this “marvellous exchange“:
O marvellous exchange! Man’s Creator has become man, born of the Virgin. We have been made sharers in the divinity of Christ who humbled himself to share our humanity.
The new-born Saviour, God incarnate, is a marvellous and wonderful gift that comes in the form of a tiny, vulnerable baby; a precious new beginning full of love and hope. Recently, Pope Francis observed that Advent calls us “to open our horizons” to the coming of the Lord : [W]e are called to enlarge the horizons of our hearts, to be surprised by the life that is presented each day with its newness. In order to do this we need to learn to not depend on our own securities, our own established plans, because the Lord comes in the hour which we don’t imagine. He comes to bring us into a more beautiful and grand dimension.”
This Advent, we invite you to place the Lord foremost in your mind and examine how our life-giving, generous, celebratory Catholic faith and culture embraces the true spirit of Christmas. Below are links to further pages that may be of assistance in your faith journey.
The Justice and Peace Office wishes you, your family, friends and community a wonderful Christmas filled with many blessings!
- Message of Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP
- Reflection and Prayer
- Families and Community
- Simplicity and Balance
- Links and Further Resources