Advent 2012

Many of us are familiar with Ancestry.com, the website that enables us to research our personal history or geneology. The custom of the Jesse Tree is a way of remembering the spiritual lineage of Jesus through stories of the Old Testament which recount Salvation History. As we look at each of these stories throughout Advent, we trace the prototypes of the Messiah – the figures in the Hebrew Scriptures who gave hints of what the promised Savior would be like. Cut out the Jesse Tree symbols and color them if you wish. Each is numbered so that you can hang them in order. Punch a hole in each symbol and use an ornament hook, string or ribbon to attach the ornament to an artificial tree or a dead bare tree branch secured in a pot of dirt. Read the Chapters from Scripture which tell the story behind the ornament if you have time, or read the short description on this paper with the prayer related to it as you hang your ornaments each day of Advent. This practice may be done in the morning to begin your day, or in the evening as a time of reflection, perhaps with your family before supper or when you light the Advent wreath.

“On that day, the Lord will bind up the wounds of his people.” Isaiah 30:26

Christine is a beautiful woman, inside and out. She is as vital as fresh air or summer sun. She is successful, strong, sincere and faith-filled. But her heart is a fragile, hidden glass, ready to break at any moment, from a family member’s risk taking. Like spilled ink, that darkness regularly invades her joy and conspires to steal her hope.

Spiritual darkness holds a profound contradiction. It is the place where we may be deeply lost but even more deeply found. It is an interior tunnel through which every person walks at least once in life, the deep chasm from which Isaiah pointed to the distant mountaintop.

During the thrilling season of Advent, we step out into the land of promises and prophets. The language of hope unfurls in a galaxy across the heavens, calling us out of darkness toward an Infinite and Incarnate Light. In this first week’s glorious readings, the prophet Isaiah points to our salvation, star by prophetic star:

  • There is a Day coming, he tells us, and on the Day, the Lord will bind up the wounds of his people.
  • In a very little while, he tells us, Lebanon will be changed. A shoot shall sprout from the tree we had thought to be withered.
  • On this very mountain, he tells us, we will behold our God.

For all of us who, like Christine, carry human sorrow in the shadowed valleys of our spirits, there is healing on the near horizon. The Daystar of Jesus Christ is about to dawn through the darkness. God is about to put on the very humanness that is our burden and transform it into glory. Let us begin, with an eager faith, to enter the divine mystery being sung among the stars.

Written by Sr. Renee Yann, RSM, D. Min. Catholic Health Association (CHA) has produced a reflection for each week of Advent and a Christmas reflection. We hope they will become a source of comfort, joy and inspiration.

Copyright 2015 Catholic Health Association of the United States.

Jesus is Born

Monday, December 24, 2012

in Advent 2012

We have come to the time which God had destined from the day of His promise to Adam and Eve.  Jesus is born, incarnate of the Virgin Mary, the one who will crush evil  and bring release to captives , the one who will care for the poor and needy, who will give sight to the blind and strength to the weak.  The one who will shepherd his people Israel into the promised land of God’s kingdom.

Prayer:

Creator of the Universe, God become man in a stable, teach me the meaning of life. Teach me what it means that you became man to show us the way back to the heavenly Father.  Help me to understand that your kingdom is not hereafter, that your kingdom begins here on earth in the hearts of those who follow you.  Let me do my part to make that kingdom come here on earth as it is in heaven.  You became human that I might share in your Divinity.  Let it be done to me according to your word.  Amen.

 

Jesus Is Born

Bethlehem

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Bethlehem was a small town of no great significance.  It was however, the home of the family of David, the ancestors of Jesus.  It was to Bethlehem that Joseph was called to go by the edict of the Emperor.  And so the prophecy was fulfilled that Bethlehem would truly be the house of bread – the birthplace [more…]

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John the Baptist

Saturday, December 22, 2012

John’s role was to prepare the way for his cousin.  How would it be to know that you are not the important one?  That you will always walk in the shadow of someone younger than you?  That you will lose your disciples in favor of another?  That you will ultimately lose you head for the [more…]

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Joseph

Friday, December 21, 2012

Joseph had many nights when he was awakened from his dreams with an angel speaking to him.  Joseph was a man of silence, a man committed to God’s will – to charity, hard work and dedication to Mary.  Joseph was entrusted with protecting the holy family, providing for their needs and their safety.  Joseph was [more…]

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Mary

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Mary’s response to God’s invitation to be the mother of the Messiah was brief and positive:  “Be it done to me according to your word.”  Fiat – let it be.  Mary could not have imagined in her wildest dreams what it was that she said “yes” to.  She could not anticipate the hardships that she [more…]

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Gabriel

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

In all three of the Abrahamic traditions, angels are seen as an aspect or action of God.  Gabriel is God’s messenger who appears both in the Hebrew and the Christian Scriptures. Gabriel is entrusted with the message for Mary that she will be the mother of the  Lord.  Often when angels appear, their first words are “Fear [more…]

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Jonah

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

 God sent Jonah to preach repentance to the Ninevites, but Jonah did not want to see God’s mercy shown to these people.  So he fled from God but was blamed for the harsh weather that was battering his ship.  He was thrown overboard, swallowed by a whale, and spit up on the shores of Ninevah. Finally, giving [more…]

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Daniel

Monday, December 17, 2012

 As a young man, Daniel was known for his ability to read hearts and to know what was true. He was also given the gift to interpret dreams.  He came to the notice of the King when he refused to eat food which had been sacrificed to idols.  He was thrown into a firey furnace [more…]

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Isaiah

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Isaiah is probably the best know of all of the prophets because of his prophecies of the coming Messiah.  When called by God, Isaiah denied his ability telling God that he was a man of unclean lips living among a people of unclean lips.  So God sent an angel with tongs holding burning coals to purify [more…]

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