Homilists and music ministers will constantly have to fight the human urge to think sequentially and impose a historical lens upon the liturgical year, treating the seasons as a diary of Jesus’s life. That is, we await his birth in Advent, celebrate his birth at Christmas, journey with him to Jerusalem in Lent, and mark his final earthly days in the Triduum and Easter season. Advent comes, and we begin the timeline again.
The paschal mystery, however, into which we are immersed through our observance of the liturgical year, is not sequential but an encounter with Christ in our present moment. Our memorial of Jesus through the feasts and seasons gives us the lens through which we recognize how “God is with us” right now, drawing us deeper into God’s reign.God is indeed with us when and where we least expect, in ways that will not follow human and social conventions. Click To Tweet
On this last Sunday of Advent, we get a Christmas story. Why speak and sing of Emmanuel in Advent?
Perhaps it is simply to remind us that from the beginning to the end of our days, God is indeed with us when and where we least expect, in ways that will not follow human and social conventions. “Until the end of the age,” as Christ promises his disciples in Matthew’s final verse (Mt 28:20), let us recognize Emmanuel in our loved ones and in the stranger, in our days of joy and of sorrow.
This post was first published in “GIA Quarterly: A Liturgical Music Journal.”
Image credit: Devonyu from Getty Images.
Read more reflections on the Sunday readings here:
- Going Further
- Can we be salt and light?
- Who is advocating for those in need?
- Bonded to Christ’s Mission
- Deepening the unity