(Click here for readings)
By JENNIFER BURGIN
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.”
How is your Advent going this year? Has it been fruitful? With Christmas less than a week away, most Americans feel stressed out. Maybe these thoughts come to mind: Where on earth can I find a Eliza Frozen doll sold out at every retail market in the city?.... Uh, I still have so much shopping and cooking to do before family arrives on Christmas Eve!... I hope the package I mailed to the kids makes it in time. The post office is so unreliable these days!
When we get stressed out, especially around the holidays, crankiness swiftly changes into scrooginess. Nobody likes a Bah Humbug but sometimes the attitude happens, especially when commercialized Christmas wears us down. Why is it during this season of giving people can be so irritable, impatient and downright mean?
With the holiday hustle and bustle, we can easily forget about Advent and the preparation for the arrival of the Christ Child. Advent's preparation is much more important than preparing gift packages, holiday cards, and fancy meals. Yes, these gift-giving gestures are wonderful tokens of thanks. They show how much we love and appreciate one another. However, we must always remember the true reason for the season.
The greatest gift the Archangel Gabriel gave to Mary was the gift of life. No expensive garment, stone pottery, or valuable gold coin can match it. Mary could have responded, "No way will I accept motherhood at such a young age. I can't do it!" However, despite Mary's uncertainty of God's plan, she accepted the gift with obedience and courage. How awesome to be chosen a holy handmaid of the Lord!
If the Holy Spirit called you to serve his Church in a special way, would you accept the invitation with humility and obedience like Mary?
I find it amazing how the Holy Spirit stirs up life's emotional pot, leaving a person confused one minute, sad the next, and joyful in the end. Personally, this has been a roller coaster Advent season. Tensions at work left me sleepless for several nights in a row. Then, I found out an old boss passed away from cancer over two months ago. Confusion and sadness left me asking God, "Why are you challenging me during this Advent Season? It's never been this intense before! Help me handle this frustration, annoyance and sadness. I place my trust in you, Dear Jesus." In a matter of a short few days, the heavy black cloud lifted. Perhaps I passed God's vigilance test?! I remained steadfast in prayer despite feeling negative emotions. Moreover, I remained steadfast in faith knowing God would bring clarity to my situation. Now I see peace in the horizon. I can't wait for Christmas to arrive!
Do you wish for the Lord to bring clarity into your life? Remain steadfast in prayer and always keep the Blessed Mother close to your heart!
"If you ever feel distressed during your day — call upon our Lady — just say this simple prayer: 'Mary, Mother of Jesus, please be a mother to me now.' I must admit — this prayer has never failed me."
--Blessed Mother Teresa
This meditation was written by Jennifer Burgin. She is a Lay Dominican associated with St. Albert the Great Dominican Priory in Irving, TX. Please follow her blog: Jennifer's Spectrum of Spirituality