As we enter into the final week of Advent, we draw nearer to the birth of Christ, and Sacred Scripture teaches us how it all went down–it reveals the humble beginnings of our Savior and Lord. Could Mary even have imagined the joy and pain the Angel’s announcement might bring to her? It’s no wonder she was greatly troubled! The angel tells her, “Do not be afraid,” and gave her the news every mother wants to hear, “He will be great.” And more than that, Elizabeth also conceived and as we know, John was indeed great.
God seems to have a thing for humble beginnings. I think many of us look to those who are great to do great things. I don’t know why, because time and time again God chooses the ignorant to shame the wise. The weak to carry the strong. The ones that the world has cast aside to bring glory and honor to his name.
You probably remember Joseph, the dreamer, whom God called to save the Egyptians and surrounding regions from starvation and death. God had a plan! And after him, the infant Moses, scheduled for death, who then lead God’s people out of 400 years of slavery in Egypt. God had a plan.
And King David, from tending the flocks, to the King of Israel. God didn’t choose any of the obvious, he chose the world’s nobody. He had a plan. God chose Mary, in the line of King David. A virgin betrothed to a Carpenter, to give birth to God and bring salvation to the whole world. And Elizabeth’s John the Baptist to announce it. God had a plan.
At a time when kids are eager to look under the tree to find gifts, and parents look for some Tylenol and a glass of wine to ease the pain we remain peaceful, knowing God has a plan. At a time when we are unable to worship in-doors, and it’s almost too cold to be outdoors, when COVID infections and deaths are rising, when at the same time families long to be together at the Holidays, they must bury their loved ones and coworkers, we remain ever hopeful knowing that God has a plan.
I don’t know the details of the plan. But I know only this, God has a plan and we are somehow called to participate in it. God has always called us, the ordinary ones of the world: the humble, the meek. We don’t count for much, but God will use us to glorify His name if we allow him. Believe that. God will use our children and grandchildren to be great.
Just before Mass, I was honored to baptize the newest member of Our Lady of the Assumption Parish, Clementine. Her parents Adam and Candice, are filled with joy–but also with fear, with uncertainty, with hope, and with love. Do not be afraid. She will be great.
I want to encourage you with the truth that God wants us to be great. God wants to use us to change the world, bring peace and love, and goodness and truth. He wants to use us to glorify his name and bring salvation to others through his son. As we enter the final week of Advent, take a deep breath, pray intensely, visit the adoration chapel, go to reconciliation, receive Eucharist, find a quiet place and read your Bible, and know that God has transformed the world with people like you and me. Do not be afraid. We have the Spirit. We’re going to be great. God has a plan…we’re part of it.