“Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call him Emmanuel, which means, God is with us” – Matthew 1:23

During Advent we wait for God to break through our world. We look for signs of God’s presence in our lives. Throughout these days, we listen for the still small voice speaking to us in our contemplation. Our Advent journey ends today with Christmas as “the word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” The angels proclaim, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!” Christmas reveals a deep reality and a remarkable gift, which God shares with us in Emmanuel, God with us. This mystery opens our hearts to the love in us and around us.

Growing up in a large family with so many traditions was a special time of hope and harmony. This stretch of peace as well as the sights and sounds of the season pulled us into the spirit of Christmas. In our love and care for one another, we learned that Emmanuel is not remote, but a God who cares, who is with us in our everyday lives. The depth of God’s love for us is beyond anything we can measure, much like a parent’s love or familial affection. We were more patient and optimistically looked beyond the obvious in our support for one another. I still cherish these memories.

Like the journey of the Magi, all of us are looking for the signs of the Christmas season. We look for an anchor to our deepest desires, something that will sustain us as we move forward. Our journey is often difficult to plan and not easily understood. As we make our way, Christmas, like family, touches us right where we are and whispers words of hope. What we have been looking for, Emmanuel, unfolds before us in the ordinary blessings of our lives. At Christmas, what ultimately matters most, is that we love everyone for who they are, not for who we want them to be. That is the real “Christmas miracle”. There in the depths of our hearts, we find God’s gift of love, being born in us once again. You can see in the small things, the treasure, God has given you over and over again.

Blessed Christmas to you and your family.

We pray in gratitude for the gifts of faith, hope and love born in our hearts this Christmas day.

Amen.

Brother Daniel Skala, C.F.X.

To view the full Advent 2021 booklet in English, click here.

For Spanish, click here.

For French, click here.

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