First reading Isaiah 7:10-14

The maiden is with child

The Lord spoke to Ahaz and said, ‘Ask the Lord your God for a sign for yourself coming either from the depths of Sheol or from the heights above.’ ‘No,’ Ahaz answered ‘I will not put the Lord to the test.’
  Then Isaiah said:
 
‘Listen now, House of David:
are you not satisfied with trying the patience of men
without trying the patience of my God, too?
The Lord himself, therefore,
will give you a sign.
It is this: the maiden is with child
and will soon give birth to a son
whom she will call Immanuel,
a name which means “God-is-with-us.”’
 

Responsorial Psalm 23(24):1-6

Let the Lord enter! He is the king of glory.
 
The Lord’s is the earth and its fullness,
  the world and all its peoples.
It is he who set it on the seas;
  on the waters he made it firm.
 
Let the Lord enter! He is the king of glory.
 
Who shall climb the mountain of the Lord?
  Who shall stand in his holy place?
The man with clean hands and pure heart,
  who desires not worthless things.
 
Let the Lord enter! He is the king of glory.
 
He shall receive blessings from the Lord
  and reward from the God who saves him.
Such are the men who seek him,
  seek the face of the God of Jacob.
 
Let the Lord enter! He is the king of glory.
 

Gospel Luke 1:26-38

‘I am the handmaid of the Lord’

The angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the House of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. He went in and said to her, ‘Rejoice, so highly favoured! The Lord is with you.’ She was deeply disturbed by these words and asked herself what this greeting could mean, but the angel said to her, ‘Mary, do not be afraid; you have won God’s favour. Listen! You are to conceive and bear a son, and you must name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David; he will rule over the House of Jacob for ever and his reign will have no end.’ Mary said to the angel, ‘But how can this come about, since I am a virgin?’ ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you’ the angel answered ‘and the power of the Most High will cover you with its shadow. And so the child will be holy and will be called Son of God. Know this too: your kinswoman Elizabeth has, in her old age, herself conceived a son, and she whom people called barren is now in her sixth month, for nothing is impossible to God.’ ‘I am the handmaid of the Lord,’ said Mary ‘let what you have said be done to me.’ And the angel left her.
 
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God is with us

Christmas is coming soon. Many of us are most likely rushing to get presents for our loved ones, send cards to friends, plan Christmas meals, etc. Amid our busyness, let us stop and remember the reason for this celebration. In today’s gospel, the angel Gabriel came to Mary  with this message, “Rejoice, you who enjoy God’s favor! The Lord is with you”. Let us sit with these words of angel Gabriel: “The Lord is with  you”. Christmas is the celebration of Jesus, Immanuel, God-with-us. This is the reason why we can rejoice and celebrate, even when things  are not going well for us.
 
Often, when we have to live through the loss of someone we love, a sickness, a disappointment, etc. we can be tempted to believe that God has forsaken us. It is in those stressful and difficult moments when God is personally close to us. Today, may we receive this reality into our hearts with joy: “The Lord is with you”. God-with-us, and so, we can live each moment of today with peace.
 
Question for reflection:
What is God’s message for me today?
 
 
Acknowledgment: Reflections are based on “Prayer for Living: The Word of God for Daily Prayer Year C” by Sr. Sandra Seow FMVD.