Lift up your heads and see

    December 23, 2023
    Advent reflection day 21 graphic. Watercolor brush strokes of Christmas tree branches in white and pale green.

    “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.” One of my favorite Christmas songs growing up, these lyrics remind us of the hustle and bustle that this time of year brings. Gift buying, party preparations, cooking, baking, etc., all keep us frantically busy. We prepare to host friends and family and work long hours and sleep for shorter amounts of time just to make sure everything is ready. Pure exhaustion sets in when the last friend or family member leaves and we’re left with the reality that another Christmas has come and gone.

    Our ministries at Catholic Charities are also experiencing the frantic pace of the season, with more clients seeking assistance, anxious about what the future holds. Our coworkers are doing all they can to respond as quickly as they can, working tirelessly to assist whenever and wherever possible. Food lines are long, phone lines are continuously busy and open appointments are scarce. We don’t have time to even look up to see what’s going on around us.

    “Lift up your heads and see; your redemption is near at hand.” The psalmist encourages us to recognize that love and grace are about to be poured out upon us. During the season of Advent, we are called upon to prepare our hearts to receive Jesus Christ, the incarnate son of God, at Christmas. Jesus is our redemption, and we need to break free from the hustle and bustle of preparing festivities, from the demands of our ministries, and lift up our heads and reverence the King of Kings, Emmanuel, God with us. May we follow the example of the shepherds so many years ago and step away from the task at hand to worship Him whom the angels sing about. The Lord whom we seek approaches. Hallelujah!

    Deacon Gary Tester is President of Catholic Charities of Central Florida.

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