Thursday of the Third Week of Advent
(Isaiah 7:10-14; Luke 1:26-38)
Christmas is a season of signs. Every gift signifies the giver’s affection for the recipient. Although signs may show disfavor as well, the signs offered in the readings today are both positive.
In the first reading Isaiah suggests that King Ahaz ask for a sign to show that God supports him. Faced with a military challenge, the king wants to capitulate to his enemies who will adulterate his nation’s worship. He likely refuses to ask for a sign not out of piety but from a fear to trust in the Lord. By contrast in the gospel Mary, trusting all the while in the Lord, readily accepts the sign that Elizabeth is pregnant in her old age.
Should we be seeking signs when confronted with decisions? God has not only sent us the ultimate sign in His Son Jesus but also has endowed us with His Holy Spirit. Rather than seeking additional signs, it is better to prudently discern how Jesus’ teachings apply in a given situation and then acting accordingly with the Spirit.