FOURTH SUNDAY OF ADVENT: A TIME OF HOPE
Mary set out and traveled to the hill country in haste to a town of Judah, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled." (Lk. 1:39-45)
"The spirit of Advent largely consists in living close to Our Lady during this time when she is carrying Jesus in her womb. We can think of the whole of our life as a somewhat longer Advent, a time of waiting for that definitive moment when we will at last find ourselves with God forever. The christian knows that he has to live this advent beside Our Lady every day of his life if he wants to be certain of attaining the only thing in the whole of his existence that is really important—finding Christ in his life, and afterwards being with him in eternity. There is no better way of preparing for Christmas, which is now so close, than by keeping Mary company, getting to know her and deepening our love and trust in her. Mary imparts a great joy to our souls, because when we turn to her she leads us to Christ. "
~from In Conversation with God, Daily Meditations, Volume One: Advent and Christmastide
"O Creator God, our world is pregnant with the anticipation of the birth of your Son. We are bursting in our preparedness, for the feast of Christmas will soon be here. Everything seems to be in order: the plans are agreed to, the tree is decorated, most of the gifts are wrapped, and we think we are ready. However, Lord, as we pause to offer this prayer, we realize that some things have been rushed, and, in the process, some important things have been forgotten. In this brief moment of quiet, help us to be at least thankful. Help us to appreciate the Word that comes to dwell with us. Help us to hope in the promise of His way, truth, and life. Help us to join with the angels who sing your praise. Grant us the lasting peace of this great season of joy. We pray in the name of our long-expected Lord. Amen."
~ from The Essential Advent and Christmas Handbook
View The Catholic Company’s entire selection of Advent Prayer Books here.
This article has been updated and was originally published in December 2012.