December 2023: Monthly Reflections of God's Goodness

Sister Mary Ann Barnhorn, SNDdeN

Remember the excitement of Advent calendars and Advent wreaths? I love the traditions surrounding these weeks before Christmas. Jesus Is coming!

Each year I approach this season with awe and expectation. He is coming, He has come, and He will come again! It’s time to prepare.

It’s time to clean up our act. Time to clear out any cobwebs in our spiritual lives, recommit to prayer, and get in touch with the yearning for God deep within. God is ready! He waits too, for just the right moments to enter into our busy lives with His grace. Advent is a good time to begin or begin again.

Many of us have been swept up in the news of Israel and Palestine and given in to the fears of what could escalate into something more. Remember, Jesus is our hope.

We are easily distracted by what is going on around us. Financial problems, family issues, political stress, wars, violence, and suffering, vie for our attention and action. Good News! We are all a work in progress.

God is holding on to us. If we listen, we can hear him whispering, “I love you, I died for you, I wait for you.”

“I have told you this so that you might have peace in me. In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world.” John 16:33

We have another opportunity to stop and change directions. For these next four weeks, we can choose to try harder to live as Jesus taught us. We can choose to love one another; we can let our light shine as we reach out to others who are struggling or in need.

“Let us hold unwaveringly to our confession that gives us hope, for he who made the promise is trustworthy. We must consider how to rouse one another to love and good works.” Hebrews 10:23-24

Once again, we can commit to diving into the Word of God.

“For whatever was written previously was written for our instruction, that by

endurance and by the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope.” Romans 15:4

What can help us hold on to hope? Where can we find the Good News we are looking for? You could begin by reading the Gospel of Luke, a chapter a day for 24 days! Or, search Isaiah for the promise of a Messiah. Use the daily readings to get in touch with your yearning for God.

However, if you decide to dive into Scripture, commit to a specific time and place each morning or evening. Even 10 or 15 minutes of planned scripture reading will enrich your Advent days and bring deepened hope and joy to your Christmas celebrations.

Blessings and Peace,

Sister Mary Ann Barnhorn, SNDdeN


“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; Upon those who lived in a land of gloom a light has shone.” Isaiah 9:1