Homily for the Fourth Sunday of Advent

Homily for the Fourth Sunday of Advent - December 21, 2008
2 Samuel 7:1-5, 8b-12, 14a, 16
Romans 16:25-27
Luke 1:26-38

Last week a number of households in our parish
played host to family members and friends
who were unable to stay in their own home-sweet-homes
because of the recent ice storm.

Locally and across the country, anxiety about mortgage payments
makes the words “house” and “home” more important than ever.

There’s a housing crunch in the scriptures today, too.

King David is feeling guilty that while he lives in a palace,
the presence of God is housed in a tent.
So he has it in mind to build the Lord a, well – a trophy home!

In the gospel, an angel tells Mary that her womb
will become a home for the son of the Most High.
This frightens Mary for any number of reasons,
not the least of which is that she is not yet married
and wonders where she and the promised child will live,
and what place they will call their home-sweet-home.

And we already know that when Mary gives birth to her child,
born of the house of David, she will be far from home
and spending the night in a stable…

Everywhere you turn in these scriptures,
there’s a question of where God’s house shall be:
God who chooses to pitch his tent among us,
who makes of a woman’s womb his first home,
who wants to live not only among us but also within us!

The weather and the economy teach us not to take for granted
the place we call home and the Advent season does the same.

Advent announces a God who wants to move in:
not just into the neighborhood,
but into our own homes,
into our families and into every heart.

And just as having a family move in with you
can turn your household upside down,
that’s surely the case when it’s the Lord who knocks on the door
and asks for a place to stay.
If I really let him move in, he won’t want to leave;
if I let him stay, he’ll want to start rearranging the furniture
and not just in the living room
but in every room where I do my living.

Advent also invites me to consider:
“Where am I going to end up living?”
Not when I retire at 65 or 70 but,
“Where am I going to live - forever?”
When "our time comes, the time for us to rest with our ancestors,"
we all hope we’re going to move in with God -
that God will have a place for us in heaven
- and never ask us to leave.
Well, somehow that’s tied up with where and how I live now
and how I've made room for God to live with me.

Christmas time is kind of like an ice storm:
for a while, we open wide the doors to our homes and our hearts
but often, and too soon, those doors may begin to close.
But the Lord isn’t a seasonal visitor.
He comes to stay. He wants to move in.
And he wants us to move into his heart and make it our home
just as he makes our hearts his dwelling place.

In the week ahead we’ll be praying and singing of Bethlehem.
You know, the name Bethlehem means, “House of Bread…”
How wonderful that he who is our Bread of Life
should have been born away from his own home
in a little town of David called “House of Bread.”

And so we should find ourselves very much at home,
here, at this altar,
the table where the Bread we bless and break
becomes, in the Eucharist,
the body, the life of the One born of Mary
whose womb was his first home on earth.

This table is home, sweet home, for us now
and a sign of the home, sweet home,
the Lord has prepared for us.

And there's no place like home for the holidays,

‘cause no matter how far away you roam
if you want to be happy in a million ways
for the holidays, you can’t beat home, sweet home…



  1. Great Homily . Sorry to miss the singing too !! I was at a Mass when you did not preach !!

  2. Wow!!! I was pretty much right on with my thoughts!!!

  3. Spot on, Anne! You deserve a gold star!


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