Keeping Advent: December 23

Host and Chalice

Host and Chalice

Theme: Jesus is Emmanuel

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel.

For the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our ruler,
    the Lord is our king; he will save us.
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Emmanuel means “God is with us.” How much more true could this be than it is with Jesus, who is God-made-man? God gave up His glory in Heaven to come and be with us. He became a helpless child, at the mercy of the world around Him, in order to save us all from our sins.

I love the idea of divine condescension: that God comes down to our level so that we may approach Him more freely. Like a father who kneels down to get to eye level with his toddler, God kneels down, approaches us as Man, so that we can see Him more clearly. He speaks our language so that He might reveal His love for us. He takes us by the hand, healing our spiritual afflictions and leading us back to His fold, like the wayward sheep we are.

And even more than that, Jesus gives us His very Body and Blood in the Eucharist. How much closer can we be to Him in this life? How can we say that He has not stayed with us when He comes to us on the altar every time we go to Mass? There, at Mass,we encounter Jesus at the most basic level of condescension He can take with us: as food for our bodies and souls. He has not left us orphans, but comes to be with us each time we approach the altar.

O Emmanuel, our King and Giver of Law:
come to save us, Lord our God!


Meditation text and images © Christine Johnson