December 23: Almost Ready

Published December 23, 2015 by Unprodigal Daughter


If you have been following the readings throughout this month, you may have sensed that the urgency and intensity of the readings increase as we get closer to Christmas. This, of course, is on purpose. 

Christmas is almost here and we are getting increasingly busy. The intensity of our lives is growing just as the intensity of our Scriptures grows. Today’s readings are meant to wake us up. The time has come. Our waiting is nearly finished. God is sending a Savior to redeem us. “Lo, I will send you Elijah, the prophet, before the day of the Lord comes.”

As our preparation is coming to a close and our celebration is just beginning, let us take one last moment to relax, pause, and reflect. The presents may not be wrapped. The cookies are not yet baked. But God is here.

It is more important for us to show love in these last days of Advent than it is for us to finish our tasks. It is more important to cherish those who we hold dear than it is to have our decorations finished. It is more important to walk into church this Christmas in reverence and awe of a perfect redeeming God, than it is to have the fanciest dress, or the nicest suit. Instead of getting stressed, get peaceful. Get joyful. Get loving. Make Christ’s birth your main plans this holiday.

Opening Prayer

Purify our conscience, Almighty God, by your daily visitation,
that your Son Jesus Christ,
at his coming, may find in us a mansion prepared for himself;
who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

(taken from:

Daily Readings

Reading 1: MAL 3:1-4, 23-24

Thus says the Lord GOD:
Lo, I am sending my messenger
to prepare the way before me;
And suddenly there will come to the temple
the LORD whom you seek,
And the messenger of the covenant whom you desire.
Yes, he is coming, says the LORD of hosts.
But who will endure the day of his coming?
And who can stand when he appears?
For he is like the refiner’s fire,
or like the fuller’s lye.
He will sit refining and purifying silver,
and he will purify the sons of Levi,
Refining them like gold or like silver
that they may offer due sacrifice to the LORD.
Then the sacrifice of Judah and Jerusalem
will please the LORD,
as in the days of old, as in years gone by.

Lo, I will send you
Elijah, the prophet,
Before the day of the LORD comes,
the great and terrible day,
To turn the hearts of the fathers to their children,
and the hearts of the children to their fathers,
Lest I come and strike
the land with doom.

Responsorial Psalm: PS 25:4-5AB, 8-9, 10 AND 14

R. (see Luke 21:28) Lift up your heads and see; your redemption is near at hand.

Your ways, O LORD, make known to me;
teach me your paths,
Guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my savior.
R. Lift up your heads and see; your redemption is near at hand.

Good and upright is the LORD;
thus he shows sinners the way.
He guides the humble to justice,
he teaches the humble his way.
R. Lift up your heads and see; your redemption is near at hand.

All the paths of the LORD are kindness and constancy
toward those who keep his covenant and his decrees.
The friendship of the LORD is with those who fear him,
and his covenant, for their instruction.
R. Lift up your heads and see; your redemption is near at hand.


Gospel: LK 1:57-66

When the time arrived for Elizabeth to have her child
she gave birth to a son.
Her neighbors and relatives heard
that the Lord had shown his great mercy toward her,
and they rejoiced with her.
When they came on the eighth day to circumcise the child,
they were going to call him Zechariah after his father,
but his mother said in reply,
“No. He will be called John.”
But they answered her,
“There is no one among your relatives who has this name.”
So they made signs, asking his father what he wished him to be called.
He asked for a tablet and wrote, “John is his name,”
and all were amazed.
Immediately his mouth was opened, his tongue freed,
and he spoke blessing God.
Then fear came upon all their neighbors,
and all these matters were discussed
throughout the hill country of Judea.
All who heard these things took them to heart, saying,
“What, then, will this child be?
For surely the hand of the Lord was with him.”

(taken from


Bishop Robert Barron offers us another reflection on Advent and our last moments of waiting.

Additional Activities

While you may be busy with your last minute preparations, consider a new Christmas Eve Catholic custom with your family. Read more here.

Closing Prayer

Heavenly God,
In a small animal shelter, two young newlyweds came to take refuge. In candlelight, laying upon straw, the promised one stirred within a nervous young mother. How we wonder that your Son, a piece of you sent from heaven could reside in such humble beginnings. And yet we engage with this picture, with the expectancy, with the hardship and with the wonder. This is the day that held such promise, the day that would be remembered forever, the day that changed everything. We remember this moment now and continue to wonder at your amazing plans, at your unfailing love, and at your amazing grace.


(taken from:

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