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Sunday, December 19, 2004

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Fourth Sunday of Advent

Isaiah 7:10-14
Romans 1:1-7
Psalm 24
Matthew 1:18-24

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the party line

"It is by the Holy Spirit that she has conceived this Child. She is to have a Son and you are to name Him Jesus." —Matthew 1:20-21

Imagine a birthday party with beautiful decorations, a festive meal, and many birthday presents. But you notice something very peculiar about this birthday party. The guests at this party talk a lot about the party but are very reluctant to talk openly about the person whose birthday is being celebrated. Moreover, the guests give each other presents at this party, but they do not give presents to the person whose birthday is being celebrated. This beautiful, yet strange birthday party is called "Christmas" in our secular humanistic society.

The Holy Spirit, the only true Christmas Spirit, wants to restore our Christmas to sanity by making Christ once again the Center of His birthday party. In a new Pentecost, the Holy Spirit will give us the freedom and words to speak of Christ's love. Moreover, the Holy Spirit will strongly oppose our selfishness (see Gal 5:17) and will move us to accept Jesus as Lord of Christmas and Lord of our lives (see 1 Cor 12:3). How desperately we need the Holy Spirit of Christmas! Mere holiday spirits leave us empty with a counterfeit of Christmas. Come, Holy Spirit!

Prayer:  Jesus, You have almost everything. I give You the present of my life.

Promise:  "Therefore the Lord Himself will give you this sign: the virgin shall be with Child, and bear a Son, and shall name Him Immanuel." —Is 7:14

Praise:  "O Flower of Jesse's stem, You have been raised up as a Sign for all peoples; kings stand silent in Your presence; the nations bow down in worship before You. Come, let nothing keep You from coming to our aid."

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Richard Walling, July 7, 2004

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, July 19, 2004