O Emmanuel, God is with Us 6

“O Emmanuel, our king and our lawgiver, the hope of the nations and their Savior: Come and save us, O Lord our God.”

As the Prophet Isaiah foretold:

“Therefore the Lord himself will give you this sign: the virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel” Isaiah 7:14

External preparations are important and necessary this time of year, and so are the internal preparations. We should prepare our homes and souls to receive the King and Savior of the Universe.

It helps to prepare our souls to encounter the Lord on Christmas Day, by praying and reflecting on the liturgy. It is a great help to offer our day to God early in the morning, so that our thoughts and intentions will be pure as we go about the mundane tasks of getting things ready up until the last minute.

We put extra effort into cooking, tidying up our homes, and preparing things nicely for guests this time of year. We go the extra mile, making more outings than usual for shopping, going to parties, and visiting relatives. All of this can be exhausting.

And we do all this, not because it is the thing to do or it’s what you are expected to do. Our traditions have a much deeper significance.

It’s easy to overlook that significance, when it becomes routine. So it is important to help ourselves with reminders around the home for why this is all so important.

Keeping that manger scene at home or in the office, in a prominent place that we are bound to pass by several times a day, and occasionally taking a brief moment to reflect and pray helps a lot. Preparation, both internal and external, is very important.

But this is not the most important thing. The important thing is just that he is coming to us.

Our homes, our lives, and our souls will never be perfect. We cannot make them perfect. He comes to us anyway. He created us; he wants to be with us; he wants to live among us.

This should be our consolation and our hope. This is really the one thing that matters.

Come Emmanuel, and be with us!

6 comments

  1. “And we do all this, not because it is the thing to do or it’s what you are expected to do. Our traditions have a much deeper significance. It’s easy to overlook that significance, when it becomes routine.”

    That is really good.

    I’ve been reading some Scott Hahn books and in one he talked about how people are becoming critical of Christmas because of the commercialism. He agreed that commercialism has brought some negative aspects to the holiday, but that’s not a reason to stop giving gifts. Gift-giving at Christmas has Christian roots for the Christian holiday. If gift-giving is simply “what is done this time of year” then it’s easy to get cynical. But if we keep our hearts right and give gifts as gifts of love, then it’s a good thing and beneficial to both the receiver and the giver.

    • Thanks, Dapper Dan. I totally agree. The practice of giving gifts is laden with Christian virtue. Generosity of course, but also sacrifice is involved, because we have to take the time to look for that give and spend what we’ve earned through our labor on it. If someone does not see that as a sacrifice, because they do it with joy, that’s the fruit of virtue. Gift giving is also derives from the Christian practice of almsgiving, which we are encouraged to practice during penitential seasons. If we no longer think much of it in that sense, it could be for two reasons: 1) we need to think more of the poor; 2) we do this anyway, because it is the thing to do this time of year and that’s not bad. It means Christianity has taught our culture these things so much that it is ingrained in our behavior, and made us better people — though we should reflect on that sense of it.

      Also, there’s meaning behind the emphasis on children at Christmas, and giving them gifts. We naturally think more of the little ones this time of year, and of Jesus who came to us as a child, who also said, “Let the children come to me.”

      This is in our culture. One can see it as though our traditions have been excessively secularized, which is true; and one can also see it as though secular culture has been educated and edified through our Christian virtues, which is also true. And this just goes to show, in my opinion, that there’s really no escaping our roots. Christ will always be at the center, perhaps hidden away at times as though in a cave, but nevertheless present in the world, to save it.

  2. “Our homes, our lives, and our souls will never be perfect. We cannot make them perfect. He comes to us anyway. He created us; he wants to be with us; he wants to live among us.” Amen

  3. Pingback: Jesus: Hope is Born |Isaiah 7:14 | MyChurchToolbox.org

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