A special thank you this week to our friends from St. Irene Parish, Knights of Columbus, Warrenville in the congregation.
Five very simple words to remember today. Five very simple but powerful and challenging words. Emmanuel, God is with us. Emmanuel, God is with us. If we say that we believe those words in our lives even right now today, and if we accept that message as Christmas is so near, are we willing and able to let that message change our lives? To make us, to help us, live differently? We see an interesting contrast in the first reading in the gospel Ahaz in the first reading he did not accept God’s plan for his life. He wanted his own way. Mary and Joseph, they accepted God’s plan, they followed it, and that made all the difference. And so we ask ourselves today, what will we choose?
Emmanuel, God is with us. In our times of loss, Emmanuel, God is with us. When we’re confronted by the mysteries of life. When we’re confronted by the limitations of our lives because of old age or sickness. When we feel despair and hopeless. When we feel like we cannot be compassionate and loving and forgiving anymore. It’s then we need to remember Emmanuel, God is with us. It makes all the difference in the world. Because if God is with us, we have confidence that we will have the wisdom, the courage, and the strength to live in the presence and the life of God.
Ahaz could not follow God’s plan. Mary and Joseph did. We’re not always sure or clear about God’s plan in our lives. But one thing we can be sure about, we can try to embrace it with Mary and Joseph, with confidence and with faith and with hope for God is with us. And when we live with those words in our hearts, we receive the greatest gift of all. The gift that God promises us this Christmas, the gift of peace. Emmanuel, God is with us.