It’s real!

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At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”

Luke 1:39-45

We have just completed the celebration of our Lord’s resurrection, and suddenly we’ve switched to the time before Jesus’ birth. I find this to be one of the wonderful things about our yearly liturgical cycle.

We have another chance to meet Jesus!

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Annunciation of God’s presence

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Right in the middle of Lent, we’re given this wonderful gift today!

Nine months before Christmas, the Church celebrates the Annunciation: the day when God sent the Angel Gabriel to Mary:

Coming to her, he said,
“Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.”
But she was greatly troubled at what was said
and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.
Then the angel said to her,
“Do not be afraid, Mary,
for you have found favor with God.
Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son,
and you shall name him Jesus.”

Luke 1:28-31
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Presentation of the Lord

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Today is such a powerful celebration. Really, the final event in the story of Christmas. Infants were to be consecrated to God forty days after their birth, so here we are. 40 days, February 2nd.

One of the most beautiful parts of today’s readings are what we call the Canticle of Simeon:

Lord, now you let your servant go in peace; your word has been fulfilled: my own eyes have seen the salvation which you have prepared in the sight of every people: a light to reveal you to the nations and the glory of your people Israel.

Luke 2:29-32
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