The Word Among Us

Advent 2019 Issue

Come, Journey to Bethlehem

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Come, Journey to Bethlehem: Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Thank you for joining us this Advent! Not only that, but thank you for joining the one-and-a-half million other people in more than one hundred countries who will also be using this little booklet as a traveling companion on their Advent journey.

I am confident that if you devote ten or fifteen minutes each morning (or some other time during the day) to reading the daily Scriptures from Mass and our meditation for that day, God will bless you. That’s because whenever we seek the Lord in prayer, we are doing more than fulfilling an obligation. We are gaining “access” to God (Ephesians 2:18). And every time we do that, our heavenly Father showers blessings upon us, even if we don’t feel them right away, and even if they aren’t exactly the same blessings we are looking for. In his love for us—and in his infinite wisdom—he will always give us what we need.

So I want to encourage you to come to the Lord with confidence every day this Advent. Come eagerly, like the shepherds, who heard “good news of great joy” (Luke 2:10). Come humbly, like the Magi, who “were overjoyed” and who “prostrated themselves and did him homage” (Matthew 2:10, 11). And come trustingly, like the Virgin Mary, who said, “I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38).

In addition to sitting with the Lord each day this Advent, I want to invite you to do a little something extra on each Saturday or Sunday. Spend some time reading the articles inside this issue.

• On December 1, join Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist, as his faith deepens during a period of silence and prayer, and learn from him the blessings of quiet contemplation ("A Time of Silence").

• On December 8, join Mary as she embarks on the very first Advent journey, and see how her story is your story and how her journey is your journey ("Mary's Advent Journey").

• On December 15, join the Magi in worshipping the Lord after they followed the star to the home of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, and learn how you can offer the treasures of your heart to God ("The Journey of the Magi").

• On December 22, let the story of St. Stephen, the first martyr, give you greater confidence in God’s mercy and his desire to bring healing and comfort to you and your loved ones ("Bring Heaven to Earth").

• On December 29, if you haven’t already, read the next two articles ("Our Lady of Guadalupe, Pray for Us" and "Unburdened: Why I Am Pro-Life") to see different ways that God is working in the lives of everyday people.

This Advent can be a time of real and lasting grace as you look forward to Jesus’ birth on Christmas Day. All it takes is a few minutes of prayer each day and a little bit of reading on the weekends. All God asks is that you open your heart to him just a little more each day. So come, and let Christ be born in you today.

Jeff Smith