THIRD SUNDAY OF ADVENT: THE JOY OF ADVENT
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The crowds asked John the Baptist, “What should we do?” He said to them in reply, “Whoever has two cloaks should share with the person who has none. And whoever has food should do likewise.” Even tax collectors came to be baptized and they said to him, “Teacher, what should we do?” He answered them, “Stop collecting more than what is prescribed.” Soldiers also asked him, “And what is it that we should do?” He told them, “Do not practice extortion, do not falsely accuse anyone, and be satisfied with your wages.”
Now the people were filled with expectation, and all were asking in their hearts whether John might be the Christ. John answered them all, saying, “I am baptizing you with water, but one mightier than I is coming. I am not worthy to loosen the thongs of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fan is in his hand to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.” Exhorting them in many other ways, he preached good news to the people. (Lk. 3:10-18)
"Let us get ready for Christmas by being close to Our Lady. Let us try, as well, to get ready for the Holy Season by encouraging an atmosphere of Christian peace where we live and work, and by doing all we can in small ways to bring pleasure and affection to those around us. People tend to be convinced that Christ has really been born in Bethlehem, and few things are more convincing that the habitual happiness of the Christian, even in the midst of pain and contradictions. Our Lady knew many such contradictions when she came to Bethlehem tired out and after such a long journey, and unable to find a place fit for the birth of her Son. But these problems did not cause her to lose her joy when God became Man, and dwelt amongst us. "
~from In Conversation with God, Daily Meditations, Volume One: Advent and Christmastide
"O Almighty God, gracious provider and giver of life, we anxiously await the celebration of your birth. Like the people of long ago, our ancestors in faith, we, too, are in need of light, in need of direction, in need of your Word, to show us the way. Our busy lives and the consumerism that surrounds us make it difficult to recognize your kingdom and to hear your voice. Help us Lord, to focus on you. Amen."
~ from The Essential Advent and Christmas Handbook
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This article has been updated and was originally published in December 2012.