In preparation for Christmas this year with my family, I have been baking a lot of cookies. I started weeks ago searching the internet for ideas and inspiration and dreamed of how my cookies would turn out. I inevitably waited until the last minute and ended up frosting cookies late the night before leaving. While I felt rushed, I also took a brief moment to look at the counter full of baked and decorated cookies in front of me, that had been mere ideas and dreams just days before.
We usually get more time in the final week of Advent to finish our more internal preparations of the season. This year, the fourth week of Advent lasts just for the day. In today’s Gospel, we hear of the angel Gabriel visiting Mary to give the news that she will bear a child. It calls me to reflect on what this season is about, a real child, a real birth, about God coming into the world. This is something I don’t reflect on as often as I maybe should, but when I stop to think about God coming into human form I am always truly amazed. In my life of prayer and in my ministry, sometimes I can fall into thinking of God in more of the abstract and as wholly different than me and those around me. The Christmas season is a reminder of God incarnate, of God being with us in a tangible way.
Today I will surely be scurrying around to finish up some last minute Christmas preparations, but I will also spend some time in final preparation for our celebration of Christ’s birth. I invite you to reflect on the real ways you see God in our world and in one another during these last hours of preparation and for the Christmas season to come.