December 23, 2018

Luke 1:39   In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, 40 where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. 41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit 42 and exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. 43 And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? 44 For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy. 45 And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.”
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Thought for the day

Even in its resolutely secular form, the Christmas celebration has positive sides to it. People do try very hard to get together with close family and friends.
It might help to reflect
in advance on this seasonal intensity of encounter.

What do I hope for?
What do I bring?
How can I/we be so that we are not simply in the same physical space but truly meet each other and are the better for it?

There should be some leap of joy, so that at the end of the festivities, we are glad we made the effort.


KIERAN'S NOTES HERE

POINTERS FOR PRAYER

1. The greeting of Elizabeth to Mary “Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb” is a joyful welcome of the child to come. Bringing new life into the world through pregnancy and birth is one of the most awesome human experiences. How have you experienced this for yourself or in someone close to you?

2. The image of the pregnant Mary going a distance to visit her cousin is a symbol of willingness to look beyond one’s own needs to the needs of others. When have you witnessed that kind of generosity in others, or have been able to act in this way yourself?

3. Mary is praised for her faith, because she believed the promise made her by the Lord would be fulfilled. In what ways have you experienced blessings from your faith and trust in God’s promises?

4. "Why has this happened to me?" When tragedy occurs, people often ask this question. It can also be asked at a time of unexpected good fortune. Recall and give thanks for memories of surprise pleasant experiences.

JOHN BYRNE - INTERCOM