Fourth Week of Advent: Saying "Yes"

No matter what impression Lifetime network movies may leave, angels don’t show up often. But when they do … batten the hatches.

An angle appeared to Mary, a simple girl of thirteen, maybe fourteen, years. “You’re going to have a baby,” the angel said – and then I imagine a long pause, the angel wondering if Mary could handle the words to follow. “A baby … from … the Holy Spirit.”

Fear. Bewilderment. What will Joseph think? Incredulity. Shock. Laughter. What will my parents think? More fear. Dizzy. Dizzy. Dizzy.

But clarity arrived almost as quickly as the confusion. After only a short conversation with the angel, Mary spoke with the courage of a woman who was no longer a girl: “May it be so, Lord.” Mary simply said “yes.”

Each of us will happen upon a moment where a simple choice will be laid in front of us. Will we say yes to God, a yes that will most certainly careen us into the unknown? Will we surrender control, surrender the future, surrender ourselves?

These weeks of Advent, we have waited. But as Christians we wait so that we can hear. We wait so that we can obey. We wait so that we can say yes. It is a fearful thing to follow a God we can never control. But when we say yes, we say yes to life. Yes to joy.

To wait open-endedly is an enormously radical attitude toward life. So is to trust that something will happen to us that is far beyond our own imaginings. So, too, is giving up control over our future and letting God define our life, trusting that God molds us according to God’s love and not according to our fear. {Henri Nouwen}

A very merry Christmas. Thank you for walking with me through Advent. And thank you for reading my words this year. It means a lot.

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