Fourth Sunday of Advent (December 18, 2016)

Isn't it sad that Ahaz refused to accept Isaiah’s invitation to ask God for a sign that he would fulfill his promise to save Jerusalem from an advancing enemy. But a fearful leader will not thwart God’s love for his people. Isaiah gives Ahaz a sign anyway: "The virgin will bear a son and name him Emmanuel."

Centuries later, Matthew is inspired to recognize the unexpected depth of meaning in Isaiah's prophecy. An angel appears in Joseph's dream and encourages him not to be afraid Ato take his pregnant wife Mary into his home. Her child has been conceived through the Holy Spirit. And Joseph is to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins. Jesus will truly be Emmanuel, God is with us.

Now all is ready for our celebrating the coming of our God among us in Jesus.

Our Advent longing and waiting takes on a heightened expectancy. The feast of Christmas is near.

But our Salesian spirituality tells us that there is more for us. "God is with us" is why we live the way we do each day. God has loved us so deeply that he wants us to be living witnesses of his presence and love. Letting Jesus live in us as Emmanuel each day becomes our way of holiness and allows us to share his love with one another and with all we meet.

May our Advent expectancy lead us to be vibrant messengers of the truth:

"God is with us" saving his people!

Come, Lord, and do not delay!