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Wednesday, fourth week of Advent

December 21, 2005

Blessed St. Peter Canisius’ Day! (look for his story in the “saints of Advent” category)

O Rising Dawn,
Splendor of eternal light
And Sun of justice
Come to give light to those sitting in darkness
And in the shadow of death

Isaiah 9:2
The people that walked in darkness, have seen a great light: to them that dwelt in the region of the shadow of death, light is risen.
John 8:12 (John 12:46 is very similar)
“I am the Light of the world. Whoever follows Me will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life”
Revelation 22:16
“I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things concerning the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, the bright morning star.”

Song of Songs: 2:8-14 or Zephaniah 3:14-18
Psalm 33:2-3, 11-12, 20-21 “Cry out with joy to the Lord, you holy ones; sing a new song to Him”
+ Luke 1:39-45

Today we are reminded that the King of Glory is also the King of Love. In the Song of Songs, the great love poem of the Scriptures, God is described as a Lover, leaping across the mountains in His eagerness to reach us, peering through the lattices and calling out, “Arise, My beloved, My beautiful one, and come! O My dove in the clefts of the rock, in the secret recesses of the cliff, let Me see you, let Me hear your voice, for your voice is sweet, and you are lovely” (Song of Songs 2:13-14). We’ve been talking a lot about obedience and repentance lately, but we need to remember that this obedience, this repentance is all in the service of love. It’s about removing the lattices that come between us and God, our Lover. It’s about preparing ourselves to go out and meet Him, that we may rejoice in His nearness as He rejoices in ours. Zephaniah tells us that “He will rejoice over you with gladness, and renew you in His love, He will sing joyfully because of you, as one sings at festivals” (Zephaniah 3:17-18).

I’ve commented before on Advent as a season of waiting, but the more I study it, the more I see a more dominant theme of eager preparation, reminiscent of my own wedding preparations. What a wonderful, exciting time! (sorry guys, I know many of you won’t be able to relate to this!) We want everything to be just perfect for the big day, and many hours go into selecting just the right dress (Revelations 19:8 tells us that the Bride of the Lamb is dressed in fine linen, shining bright, which is the righteous deeds of the saints), selecting the music (harps thundering God’s praise in Heaven!, Revelation 14:2), picking out jewelry (the Bride of the Lamb is decorated with precious gems and pearls, Revelation 21:19-21), preparing invitations (God’s invited everybody, I Timothy 2:3-4)–you get the idea :). A bride who’s thinking ahead will also be spending time preparing for her role as wife, studying healthy relationships, learning to take care of a home and children, conquering any selfish tendencies that would detract from the unity she wants to build with her bridegroom. And all that is for an earthly marriage to a man with clay feet, a man who will inevitably disappoint her! We get to prepare for the perfect marriage to the perfect Man, the Bridegroom who can bring us eternal, uninterrupted happiness! He’s given us access to all His treasures because He knows we couldn’t possibly pay for everything ourselves. And since our human love falls so miserably short of what we want to give Him, He’s even given us His own Love with which to love Him; namely the Holy Spirit, who is the personification of the Love that burns between the Father and the Son. What are we waiting for?!

Mary wasn’t waiting for anything. The God she loved with all her heart (and with all His Heart!), had come to dwell within her womb and she went in haste to her kinswoman, Elizabeth, to share her blessing. As she approached, Elizabeth, also filled with the Holy Spirit, cried out, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!” This cry echoes the blessing given to the victorious Judith, who single-handedly routed the invading army of the Assyrians in a very feminine way (I highly recommend that you read the whole story in the book of Judith). When Judith returned from her mission, the prince of the city greeted her: “Blessed are you, daughter, by the Most High God, above all women on earth” (Judith 13:18). Judith is indeed a type, a foreshadowing, of Mary, the woman God used to defeat our enemy, to crush the serpent’s head, in a very feminine way. And Mary is indeed blessed and honored above all other women who have ever lived.

May we learn from Mary, the warrior maiden who conquered through her humble receptivity, to prepare to welcome the coming King of Love.

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