Advent, 4th Sunday (A) Sometimes we think a gift is perfect but it ends up sitting on our shelf. Other times a gift we don't appreciate ends up being super useful. God offers the gift of a relationship with Himself. Ahaz is not open to a relationship with God. But Joseph is willing to welcome the Christ Child even though it totally changes his plans.

We tend to be "consumers" of religion. I was a good person all year, why did I get coal in my stocking or have to spend Christmas in the hospital? Where is the peace, joy, or answer to prayer I've been looking for. God never promised those things. God promised he would be Emanuel, God-with-us, in good times and in bad.

Are you open to a relationship with God? Is your friendship with God the most important thing in your life -- something you use ever day, even if it doesn't fit your own plans? Or do you put God out of the way "until I need it some day"?

A surprising number of Catholics plan to celebrate Christmas without Christ Mass. Maybe for them Christmas is just presents and family time. They don't realize God is offering them a relationship. You probably haven't gotten all your gifts yet. In fact, you may have forgotten the birthday boy himself. The Good News is there's only one thing on Jesus' Christmas list: You. God cared enough to send his very best. What are you giving Jesus this Christmas?

(22 Dec 2019)

Going Deeper: How can I give Jesus the gift of myself at Christmas time? How can religion be less of a consumer transaction and more of a personal relationship?

Thank you St. Anthony PCCW!