First Sunday of Advent - Preparing for Christmas
As the coziness of Advent encircles us, I always like to ponder the life and hard choices Mary faced. Mary was, in a way, the first Christian. She brought Jesus into the world with love and trepidation and sacrifice.
When the angel came to ask Mary if she might accept carrying and birthing Jesus, the son of God, she was initially afraid. I imagine her taking a deep breath and listening to the once in an eternity invitation: will you bring Christ into the world in your body, in this time and place?
Her answer is one I pray often: “Let it be with me just as you say.”
Let it be with me just as you say.
How was she so composed? How did she find it within herself to say yes to something so big and so mysterious?
I enjoy imagining her inner experience. I wonder if what Mary may have glimpsed in that moment was that God could be trusted to invite her into the things she was made to do. I imagine that maybe she had a sense of “Oh that’s this feeling inside I haven’t been able to explain…. I have this hard job to do….this hard and beautiful role to play in God’s story.” I imagine that she had already felt a calling on her life and in that moment of invitation she could have felt a sense of puzzle pieces falling into place. A rightness and resonance to it that no one else would understand.
Except that we can understand it. Because we are each invited, too. Invited to be the unique reflection of the Divine that we uniquely are. And when we encounter a significant step into that identity, we might feel an inner sense of pieces falling into place. Resonance. It might even be something we thought we didn’t want to do or that we thought we couldn’t do. But if it’s for us, we can feel it as a deep resonance in our bodies and souls.
And in those moments, we might find we are ready to more deeply say:
Let it be with me just as you say.
Have you ever felt this sense of resonance? A knowing that you are doing something that is for you? Take a moment now to enjoy that memory. Notice how you feel about it. Notice what it changes about your day when you focus on this revealing sense of ‘fit’.
If you’ve never felt it, give yourself time to notice some things you are good at. Notice what you wish you could do. Is there a connection between them? You might try a breath prayer: As you breathe in say, I am here with you. As you breathe out, say, I have good things to offer. While you say these things ask the Holy Spirit to help you get to know yourself better.
First Monday of Advent:
Sit with, “Let it be with me just as you have said,” and see what you feel. Do you feel able to ask that? Does it make you feel hopeful? Anxious? Do you feel you can trust God to say good things about you that you would want to live out? Whatever you feel is ok, it’s where you are right now. Start from where you are and ponder what baby step you might want to take.
First Tuesday of Advent:
Sit, once again with “Let it be with me just as you have said.” Does it mean a bit more to you than it did on Sunday? Is a new prayer coming into focus? Or do you just have more questions and frustrations? If you feel like it, you can write down frustrations or new hopeful thoughts. Both can lead to a new vista.
First Wednesday of Advent:
Do you feel any kinship with Mary as one who brought Jesus into the world? What do you notice about her role and your connection with Jesus? Do you see yourself as someone that brings Jesus into the room? His love, his grace, his ability to see the beauty in each person…Find at least one way that you have recently done that. Notice that you are a blessing.
First Thursday of Advent:
When you pray “Let it be with me just as you say,” does it push against the edges of your faith? Do you struggle to believe that God has good things for you sometimes? If so, ask for help to talk through your feelings about this with God. Simply be where you are and choose not to judge yourself as you express what you feel.
First Friday of Advent:
If you’re still here, well done! Take a few minutes to ponder that Advent gives us a chance to renew our groundedness in our calling to bring Jesus into the world. The way Mary was called to do that was not obvious to the people around her or to her for years. Are you tired of waiting? Take some deep breaths and invite hope into your heart – that you just might be being faithful to do what you are called to as best you can even if it doesn’t look like much to others.