Preface II of Advent

For more information on the Preface in general, see The Eucharistic Prayer (2) and The Eucharistic Prayer (3)

The second Preface of Advent is reserved for the last week of the season. Each day that we participate in Mass we can contemplate the mystery of Christ’s Incarnation and foster our joyous expectation of the birth of our Savior that is truly close.

The twofold expectation of Christ

When a woman is pregnant we simply say that she is “expecting.” As time progresses she starts to show it; a bulge of expectation swells and, by the grace of God, soon becomes a bundle of joy in his mother’s arms. The whole family lives this joyous expectation as well. A bag is prepared for the inevitable rush to the hospital, day or night, when the baby decides it is time to leave the womb and come into the world. Everyone awaits the news that the baby is born safe and sound.

“For all the oracles of the prophets foretold him, the Virgin Mother longed for him with love beyond all telling, John the Baptist sang of his coming and proclaimed his presence when he came.”

Expectant mothers are blessed. They feel their children growing within their wombs, a reminder of love they’ve experienced and the greater love to come. It’s a love that comes to term with struggle and pain, but finally is born with exhausted joy.

If the first part of Advent represents the long centuries of darkness and sin, from the Fall to the Incarnation, the final week of Advent is upon us with salvation about to be born. Our Lord is in his mother Mary’s womb and has come to term.

Signs have already abounded that the Messiah will soon be born: the angel Gabriel announced it, Zechariah finally believed it, Elizabeth rejoiced in it, and even little John the Baptist leapt in his mother’s womb at the thought of it. Mary is expecting her son. Humanity is expecting its Savior.

“It is by his gift that already we rejoice at the mystery of his Nativity, so that he may find us watchful in prayer and exultant in his praise.”

We’re the family of an expectant mother. Jesus is about to be born. Are we ready? We have one last week to consider the incredible event of the Incarnation before we celebrate the Nativity. On the Solemnity of the Annunciation (March 25th) we considered the Word becoming zygote: God was conceived in his human mother’s womb, a handful of cells starting to grow and multiply. The Word grew into an embryo, then a fetus, and, now, very soon, a baby. It doesn’t take a degree in biology or embryology to be amazed at what is happening right now in Mary’s womb. Where’s God? He is gestating in his mother’s womb, and salvation is gestating with him.

The Savior has come and is about to be born. Let’s keep joyful watch for that Holy Night when Christ will be born.

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