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The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

First Reading: Isaiah 29:17-24

Thus says the Lord GOD:
But a very little while,
and Lebanon shall be changed into an orchard,
and the orchard be regarded as a forest!
On that day the deaf shall hear
the words of a book;
And out of gloom and darkness,
the eyes of the blind shall see.
The lowly will ever find joy in the LORD,
and the poor rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.
For the tyrant will be no more
and the arrogant will have gone;
All who are alert to do evil will be cut off,
those whose mere word condemns a man,
Who ensnare his defender at the gate,
and leave the just man with an empty claim.
Therefore thus says the LORD,
the God of the house of Jacob,
who redeemed Abraham:
Now Jacob shall have nothing to be ashamed of,
nor shall his face grow pale.
When his children see
the work of my hands in his midst,
They shall keep my name holy;
they shall reverence the Holy One of Jacob,
and be in awe of the God of Israel.
Those who err in spirit shall acquire understanding,
and those who find fault shall receive instruction.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 27:1, 4, 13-14

R. (1a) The Lord is my light and my salvation.
The LORD is my light and my salvation;
whom should I fear?
The LORD is my life’s refuge;
of whom should I be afraid?
R. The Lord is my light and my salvation.
One thing I ask of the LORD;
this I seek:
To dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
That I may gaze on the loveliness of the LORD
and contemplate his temple.
R. The Lord is my light and my salvation.
I believe that I shall see the bounty of the LORD
in the land of the living.
Wait for the LORD with courage;
be stouthearted, and wait for the LORD.
R. The Lord is my light and my salvation.

Gospel: Matthew 9:27-31

As Jesus passed by, two blind men followed him, crying out,
“Son of David, have pity on us!”
When he entered the house,
the blind men approached him and Jesus said to them,
“Do you believe that I can do this?”
“Yes, Lord,” they said to him.
Then he touched their eyes and said,
“Let it be done for you according to your faith.”
And their eyes were opened.
Jesus warned them sternly,
“See that no one knows about this.”
But they went out and spread word of him through all that land.

NAB

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Advent wasn’t always my favorite time of year. For much of my young adult years I think I just mentally scooted over those purposeful, preparatory days of Advent with my eyes set squarely on Christmas morning. It’s not that I didn’t place value on the birth of Jesus, but I just didn’t get all of the waiting that happened beforehand.

Today, as a woman with a few more years under her belt, I’ve come to realize that I thankfully know a little bit more about the beauty and goodness and even loveliness of waiting. I know what it means to wait for a husband, wait for a job to come through, wait for a home purchase. I know what it means to wait through the illness of a parent. I know what it means, as a doula, to wait for those I’m serving in birth to welcome their little ones into the world. The blind men in today’s Gospel from Saint Matthew must have also known what it meant to wait:

Wait for healing.

Wait for the Messiah.

Wait for the promise of better things to come.

And while I know a thing or two about waiting, what I’m still learning is the sheer capacity of this waiting to transform my heart and prepare me for the good things to come. I’ve come to view waiting not as something to breeze through as quickly as humanly possible, but as something to be embraced and be transformed by. I’m learning to welcome the waiting, because I know that it changes my heart and (please God) makes me more devoted, more grateful, and more attentive to His will. Our Lord’s interaction with those two blind men in today’s Gospel wasn’t just a random occurrence; it was after months, perhaps years of waiting and praying that their hearts were prepared for the healing that was to come. In the same way, the depth to which we receive the Baby Jesus into our hearts this Christmas season is dependent on our willingness to wait for Him this Advent.

What are you waiting on this Advent season? What stirs your heart as the one thing that would mean so much? Is it a child coming home to the Church? A relationship to be restored? A baby to be conceived or an adoption to be granted? A Mr. Right to be found? A physical, emotional, or psychological healing? Know that there is power, grace, and mercy in the waiting, especially in this holy Advent season.

Pray for the grace to be willing to wait, as the blind men did in the Gospel today. And believe, as they did, that He can do anything according to our faith.

Karen Schultz is a Birth Doula who hails from the Land of 10,000 Lakes, where she is often found in or near one of them. You can find out more about her here.

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