Intention: We pray for a faith-filled and transforming Christmastime for our world, one that fills it with peace, justice, and good will toward all.
Today’s Gospel | Luke 1:26-38
In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary. And coming to her, he said, “Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you.” But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. 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, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
But Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?” 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. 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; for nothing will be impossible for God.”
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.
A Reflection for the Fourth Tuesday in Advent
The poet Emily Dickinson once wrote, “The soul should always stand ajar, ready to welcome the ecstatic experience.” An openness to the possibilities of life suggests a predisposition that is woven into the fabric of one’s life. Each day is welcomed as one would welcome a present, predictably wrapped but filled with surprise. In today’s Gospel, we see in Mary someone who has been stunned by the unexpected. However, look closely and it becomes apparent that her incredulity is not that she has been visited, but why. For her, it’s not that such a thing could happen, but that she was chosen to experience it. In the midst of wonder, the closed person is unraveled, while the open person is simply humbled. Today, we are challenged to enter into the ways of Mary. We are called to live in readiness for the inevitability of God’s approach, prepared to welcome, to listen, to accept in utter faith and hope. The time of Advent is a time for leaving doors open.
Eternal Father, we now look for the birth of your Son, to come into our world, to come into our hearts. And so we pray: send your Son, so that our souls may be at one with you. Send your Son, so that we may think, act, and speak with righteousness. Send your Son, so that we may be grateful for your many gifts. Send your Son, so that all of your people may find peace and justice. Send your Son, so that, in his light, all darkness may vanish. We ask this of you who lives and reigns with your Son and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.