The Flight into Egypt Attributed to Rembrandt, via Wikimedia Commons
Take care of your father when he is old;
grieve him not as long as he lives.
Even if his mind fail, be considerate of him;
revile him not all the days of his life;
kindness to a father will not be forgotten,
firmly planted against the debt of your sins
—a house raised in justice to you. Sirach 3:12-14
He is so fragile, my father, and every day getting physically smaller as his Spirit outgrows his frail body.
He doesn’t know us any more, but his smile is as sweet as ever and lights up his eyes. “I love you,” he says over and over. He hasn’t lost the inner wisdom that still knows how to “put on love, the bond of perfection.”
All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel, which means “God is with us.” Matthew 1:22-23
Whether I’m having an easy day or a hard day, God is with me. Whether I’m feeling peaceful or angry, God is with me. Whether I believe or don’t believe, God is with me.
When John the Baptist heard in prison of the works of the Christ, he sent his disciples to Jesus with this question, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?” Matthew 11:2-3
I imagine John the Baptist had some moments of stress in prison, wondering what would happen to the work he’d begun. To know that Jesus was busy healing those who were blind, lame, deaf, lepers, or poor opened his eyes to recognize the Christ, and meant he could let go and surrender everything to Jesus.
My own worries – big and small, world-centered and self-centered – take up a lot of time and energy. Maybe this Advent I will have the courage to surrender everything to Jesus.
It was of [John the Baptist] that the prophet Isaiah had spoken when he said: A voice of one crying out in the desert,
Prepare the way of the Lord,
make straight his paths. Matthew 3:3
John the Baptist points the way to Jesus, the Compassion of God, the Prince of Peace. How have I pointed the way to compassion and peace today? Will I make the effort to point the way to compassion and peace tomorrow?