Advent, 4th Sunday. It would be great if your Christmas shopping were done, but you've probably forgotten the most important person: the Birthday Boy! What are you getting Jesus for his birthday?

A story illustrates why our Catholic parishes aren't welcoming: Ushers want to be welcoming, but not if they have to give up their own seats. Welcoming people into our homes and our space costs us something. Mary welcomed the Christ Child even though she knew it would cost her something. Welcoming Mary and the baby cost Joseph something. Jesus becoming a human being is called the incarnation. There is a great Catholic tradition of welcoming Jesus Incarnate by praying the Angelus prayer at noon each day.

The Scriptures tell us what Jesus needs for his Birthday: He needs a place to welcome him. He needed room in Mary's womb, room in Joseph's life, room at the inn. Being welcoming costs us something. Will He find room in your heart and in your home this Christmas?

(20 Dec 2013)

Want to go deeper?

Pray the Angelus at noon today:

The Angel of the Lord declared unto Mary: And she conceived of the Holy Spirit.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Behold the handmaid of the Lord: Be it done unto me according to Thy word.

Hail Mary . . .

And the Word was made Flesh: And dwelt among us.

Hail Mary . . .

Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray:

Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts; that we, to whom the incarnation of Christ, Thy Son, was made known by the message of an angel, may by His Passion and Cross be brought to the glory of His Resurrection, through the same Christ Our Lord.

Try giving God your Christmas Eve.

Consider parking farther away from church so late-comers can get better seats.