NOTE: Throughout the Advent season, we’ll post a reflection on the readings for the upcoming Sunday in Advent just a few days before so individuals and groups can reflect in anticipation or incorporate it into their meetings, homilies, etc. The reflection will be available on our homepage through the weekend and then archived on our Advent 2022 webpage.

The reflection below is from Rose Marie Berger and was written for the 2004 Advent reflection booklet, Syllables of the Perfect Word: Advent Reflections 2004.

by Rose Marie Berger

Isaiah 7:10-14 | Romans 1:1-7 | Matthew 1:18-24

Through him we have received the grace of apostleship,
to bring about the obedience of faith,
for the sake of his name, among all the Gentiles,
among whom are you also, who are called to belong to Jesus Christ;
to all the beloved of God in Rome, called to be holy. (Rm 1:5-7)

We light the fourth Advent candle to remind us that things are not always as they seem, and that hope springs forward at the sound of its name.

In William Blake’s poem “Jerusalem” he wrote:

I give you the end of a gold string.
Only wind it into a ball,
It will lead you in at Heaven’s gate
built in Jerusalem’s wall.

The followers of The Way in the early church wove together a “gold string” that reached back to the creation of light in the Genesis story and forward to this very Sunday in Advent. There is a golden thread that sews us together as students of Jesus. Paul calls this thread the “grace of apostleship.” It is passed, hand to hand, from one generation to the next. Like kindergartners on a field trip through the big world, we are given a rope and told to hold on. We know that the rope reaches all the way back to the teacher, the anchor, the shepherd.

Advent is a time to marvel at the golden thread and to make sure that we have not become separated from it. If, by chance, you have become separated from it, do not be afraid. Jesus
extends the end of the string to you again. What glistens in your life? What sweetens your days? Your answer is the beginning of the thread. “Only wind it into a ball,” my friend and “it will lead you in at Heaven’s Gate.”

“O Adonai, and Ruler of the house of Israel, Who didst appear unto Moses in the burning bush, and gavest him the law in Sinai, come to redeem us with an outstretched arm!”

Breathe in. Breathe out. Ad…..vent.


What are you doing this Advent that anchors you to Jesus?

>> For more Advent resources and reflections, click here.

2 thoughts on “A reflection for the fourth Sunday of Advent, December 18

  1. The Reflection for the 4th Sunday of Advent is inspiring, creative with a new “twist” for me. I had not heard of the “Golden thread” tradition and think it injects – for me – a whole new, intriguing and insightful understanding of Advent. Thank you.

    Peace in Jesus –
    Noela Blacklmore.

  2. Noela,
    Like you I was touched by this image of the golden thread. The O-Antiphons have grown in associations, context, and literary and spiritual meaning over my nearly sixty years as a Sister of Saint Joseph. I even got to write my dissertation on them when completing my graduate studies. But I did not know about the golden threat until now. Thanks to William Blake and this response from you, I realize again: What a treasure!

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