Friday of the 4th Week of Advent – 24 December
2 Sam 7:1-5,8-12,14,16
…the Lord will make you a House.
After a recent silent retreat where God spoke gently to me during my 2-hr morning walks in nature, I embarked on a bit of a spring cleaning and ‘redecorating’ exercise. Each day as I said my rosaries, I felt the strong urge to ‘build a sanctuary’ for Him at home. When I finally got a priest friend to bless my crucifix (I bought it after feeling that strong urge during the retreat), eve he expressed surprise that I didn’t already have a proper prayer space at home.
I shared on the last day of the retreat that God had had whispered to me to stop looking elsewhere for Him — and that He was within easy reach, right in my heart. Spending the 5 days walking in nature actually awakened me to how He is present not in far-flung places (I had been hoping to walk the Camino this year), but right under our very eyes; we just need to have faith and still ourselves each day to listen to His gentle promptings.
Those who know me well will know that I ‘complain’ about not having my own space at home. And it was the person who knows me best — apart from God — who started the ball rolling with an early Christmas gift that necessitated one or two other pieces of furniture. Today, that room has become a sanctuary for me and I have begun to treasure it.
So the past few weeks have been a flurry of activity — rehearsals, singing at the finale week of Catholic200SG (we in Singapore are celebrating 200 years of Catholicism coming to our little island), work (of course) and lo and behold, the year is almost coming to an end. But for us Catholics, we are rejoicing in a new liturgical year and celebrating the birth of Jesus — our Saviour and Lord. I cannot help but think back on the ‘stress’-es of the past weeks and imagine how Joseph and Mary must have felt as they were making their way to Bethlehem. It must have been a journey fraught with all manner of difficulty, one that mirrors each of our daily journeys as we navigate work, family, ministry, the demands of each and the people who are involved in those areas of our lives.
And I thank God for being so present during these past weeks, nudging me along and offering me the promise of a sanctuary during the retreat, and then finally blessing my new space at home. It felt very much like a ‘rebirth’ of sorts for me and offered me tremendous hope that everything would work out fine, despite the various challenges that were thrown my way.
Brothers and sisters, as we prepare to welcome Christ, let us recall all the times over the past years when God has given us a sanctuary during our most trying times. Let us also reach out to those who seek a place to huddle, to regroup and to recover from whatever trauma they have been facing. It could be a family member, a colleague, a ministry member…or even a stranger who you noticed (or perhaps who God has put on your radar). Let us offer the warmth, love, peace and hope that a little infant gave to the whole world one cold, December night in a manger.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Desmond Soon)
Prayer: Abba Father, you shower us with your unending mercy and infinite Love. You who offered us Jesus Christ as our Saviour and Redeemer only want us to feel that love, and to know that hope is always the light that you give us no matter how difficult our circumstances. We want to honour and praise you, and wait in joyous anticipation for the birth of Jesus in our hearts.
Thanksgiving: Thank you Lord, for the gift of Jesus Christ. Thank you for being our loving, merciful Father and for showering us with peace, joy and love that no other can give us.
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