18 December, Sunday — Here, there and everywhere…

4th Sunday of Advent

Isa 7:10-14
Rm 1:1-7
Mt 1:18-24

‘God-is-with-us’

It has been an interesting few weeks for me in the lead up to Advent. All manner of challenges at work came at once – the resignation of my deputy, workplans thrown into disarray, an event (on a Monday) for which I had to pull the plug on technical support on the Saturday prior; then, leading a motley ensemble of musicians and vocalists for a three-night healing/adoration session less than two weeks ago.

The significance of the words I have chosen to reflect on hit home each time I recalled how I managed to remain calm, focused and unharried as I dealt with each situation through praying the rosary. And the fact that the sessions I led for the triduum were held in our Church of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, culminating on the feast of Mother Mary’s Immaculate Conception further affirmed that God had been with me, assuring me that all would be fine.

How else could I explain: 1) a friend who used to work with me nearly two decades ago, messaging me out of the blue, on the same day my deputy tendered his resignation. My friend asked me to ‘take care’ of a new staff who is joining me this week (she had shared with him about interviewing for a position on my team). I asked how he was doing and we then met over a 2 hour chat, which led to me arranging an interview for him with my boss within 3 days. I pray that he will join us and help run my growing team.

2) My deputy offering to still make his presentation to the group on our workplans and staying on an extra month to ensure a smooth handover of his responsibilities.

3) On the Saturday I made the decision to ‘pull the plug’ on technical support for my event, I attended our regular 4th Saturday healing service at CSC. Lo and behold, a dear brother in Christ from my ministry (who does audio visual support for events), was there as well. Lo and behold, when I asked if he could helped me out, he assured me that he would have my back for Monday.

4) The worship team I had to work with for the triduum comprised musicians from one parish and vocalists from mine. And due to various commitments, we only had one night (2 hrs) to practice our set of 12 songs. By God’s grace, and solely through the intervention of the Holy Spirit, the three nights went on without much ado and many attendees came up to thank us.

Brothers and sisters, I could go on and on about how God is constantly with us – in our trials and in our triumphs; in our desolation and in our consolations; in our fears/anxieties and during times when we are affirmed/encouraged. However, the phrase occurs three times in today’s readings and the responsorial psalm extols, “Let the Lord enter! He is the King of glory.” Indeed, how often do we try and fix things with our own mind, our own will? I am pretty sure that St Joseph absolutely had no idea what to do in his situation and surrendered to the Spirit when he decided to take in the virgin Mary, who was already with child.

As Catholics, we are truly blessed to have a God who comes to us intimately into our hearts and into our lives. No other religion I know has a God who was born in a manger, suffered for His people and eventually gave His life. So as we prepare for His coming this Christmas, let us look back over the past year and think about how we have survived it, through God’s graces. Let us acknowledge that without Him in our lives, we would probably not be where we are today.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Desmond Soon)

Prayer: Heavenly Father, as we await the coming of our Saviour, born of a virgin, we ask that you continue to shine your light into the deepest, darkest recesses of our hearts and in all those who need some hope this time of the year. Give them your blessings and assure them that You are with them, watching out for each and every lost soul who yearns to be loved.

Thanksgiving: Thank you Jesus, for being our Saviour, our Emmanuel. Thank you for your sacrifice and for loving each and every one of us, in spite of our shortcomings.

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