December 23, 2018 Fourth Sunday of Advent

Welcome Father Peter Today’s Readings: Mi 5:1-4A | Heb 10:5-10 | Lk 1:39-45

You, Bethlehem-Ephrathah, too small to be among the clans of Judah, … the Lord will give [you] up, until the time when she who is to give birth has given birth. (First reading)

Light had already come from that darkness, of course. King David traced his origins to Bethlehem, centuries before. And of course, Jesus was to be born in the same town. This strange, wide place in the road could produce Kings?

It is the same way within our souls. Our darkness and our emptiness are where Jesus is to be born on Christmas. The places in us that are gloomy, angry, or jealous, these form our darkness. The friends who leave us behind, they have a high, family time while we feel so alone—this is where the child will be born.

Watch Mary hasten to her cousin’s house, a long trip, on foot, over dirt and sand and rocks, under the hot, hot sun (Gospel). She does not have a need to be coddled and queenly in order to bring forth The Holy One. She does not spend a second worrying whether the way is too hard. Her soul somehow knows about the soft light that will shine from within her. Everything else is in second place.

Maybe emptiness can speak humbly from within us too. For a minute or two we could quit trying so hard to make everything alright in our admittedly arduous worlds.

Let go and let God. That way we will get to know the one whose “origin is from of old” (First Reading). We might even let him take up his home in us. He can make himself whatever size is needed for our souls.

What better Christmas could there be?

We wish all of you a blessed and peaceful Christmas!

At ICCH, we will have two additional masses during Christmas Time: The Nativity of the Lord will be celebrated on Dec 25 at 13:00. We will also have mass on the Octave Day of Christmas, January 1, being the Solemnity of Mary Mother of God, starting at the same usual time.

There will be no Christmas Vigil on Dec 24, nor mass on the “second day of Christmas”, Dec 26 (a holy day of obligation in Germany). There are however a number of masses and other services on these days in the German-speaking communities in the City Church of Heidelberg - Information on these can be found online at

Source: Excerpt from a reflection by John Foley SJ, on Image: Tapestry “Visitation”, c. 1410. John the Baptist kneels to Jesus, who blesses him.


  • 23 December - Opportunity to receive the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation after Mass.

  • 25 December - Mass for the Nativity of the Lord starts at 13:00. We are happy to also have a baptism during it!
  • 30 December - Sunday mass (Holy Family) takes place as usual.
  • 1 January 2019 - Additional mass at ICCH for the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God / Octave Day of Christmas, as well at 13:00.