"Arise, My beloved, My beautiful one, and come!" –Song of Songs 2:10, 13

Despite the constant hype the world gives to Christmas, the world only wants a minimal Christmas. People are programmed to be happy with "two front teeth," a new PlayStation, fur coat, diamond ring, Barbie doll, power tool, or even a new car. The world proclaims that getting this for Christmas is a maximum Christmas. When you focus on the gifts instead of the Giver of the gifts, you've set yourself up for a minimal Christmas.

The world is not ready to receive the incarnate Love of the Lord for Christmas. That's why we need Advent: to help us prepare to raise our expectations to receive the earth-shaking, maximum Christmas God has for us. The Lord shouts to us: "Arise" (Sg 2:10, 13). He calls us to rise above our meager expectations. In the northern USA, we expect snow; God expects a new springtime in the Spirit (Sg 2:11ff). We expect family gatherings; God expects us to take our royal place in His glorious family (Jn 3:5; Mt 12:50). We expect good tidings; God sends the Good News by sending His only Son, Jesus (Jn 1:14). We expect delicious Christmas treats; God expects Christ-Mass, featuring the eucharistic banquet of the Lamb. We expect the Christmas Spirit; God expects us to be filled with the Holy Spirit (Lk 1:41). We expect Christmas carols; God provides His own music as He sings joyfully about us (Zep 3:17).

Raise your expectations and have yourself a Mary Christ-Mass.

PRAYER:  Father, may I expand my vision (see Is 54:2-3) and never limit You to a worldly Christmas. Maranatha!
PROMISE:  "Blest is she who trusted that the Lord's words to her would be fulfilled." –Lk 1:45
PRAISE:  "O Radiant Dawn, Splendor of Eternal Light, Sun of Justice, come, shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death."