Reflection for the First Sunday of Advent
My Dear Good People,
Beginning today, the First Sunday of Advent, 2021, let us consider Our Lady and St. Joseph as they journey through the wondrous Christmas story that we have heard since childhood.
Let us visit the little house in Nazareth where Mary is at prayer when the Angel Gabriel appears to her. He asks her to be the mother of the Messiah whom she will name Jesus. St. Luke draws us in close to hear the conversation in Luke 1:26-38.
26 In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And coming to her, he said, “Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you.” 29 But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. 30 Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, 33 and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” 34 But Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?” 35 And the angel said to her in reply, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the Child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. 36 And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren; 37 for nothing will be impossible for God.” 38 Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.
We wonder what Mary must have felt in her pure heart at these words. Fear? Confusion? Wonder? Inadequacy? Whatever her initial reaction might have been, Mary bowed her heart in loving surrender to the plan of God for her, for the Son of God, for the world.
How many times have we felt those same emotions when faced with an unexpected turn of events, especially when we had no warning? Doesn’t it seem as though God might have talked things over with me a bit before this sudden epiphany? It seems altogether too much to comprehend Can it be true? How will I cope? Can you tell me what you are thinking, God? I didn’t have much warning, after all, or much time to think about it. Show me, if you will, just where I go from here. Of course I will say yes, but….
Ah, yes, I’ve been there, and you have too. And so was Mary. Of course, she didn’t have the same reactions we have, because she was full of grace by the mercy of God, but that doesn’t mean she simply acquiesced blindly and trudged ahead. Mary’s response was one, absolute loving Yes. Without conditions. But it took great trust.
It’s that same trust that God asks of us when He surprises us with a plan that was never ours. It doesn’t happen too often, but when it does, we call upon Mary to stand beside us to give us courage to say yes. Of course it’s what we want to say. And, in the end, it will bring us peace. Hardship, too, most likely, but encased in a peace that’s hard to describe. Let our Advent be only trust—Mary’s trust. Advent begins for us when we place our heart in Mary’s Heart, knowing God will perform a miracle for the world through us.
Be it done to me according to Your Word.