3rd Week of Advent
Then the angel departed from her.
Christmas Day is often the culmination of weeks of preparation and anticipation. The festivities—liturgical celebrations, gift exchanges, special meals, and family visits—may even linger on through New Year’s Day.
But then it’s over. A feeling of flatness sets in as life returns to normal. Do you think Mary experienced something like that? After the angel Gabriel appeared and made his astounding invitation, St. Luke says simply, he “departed from her” (Luke 1:38). Maybe a sense of awe lingered for a time, but then Mary had to return to normal. That must have been quite a feat, knowing what she knew while she cooked and cleaned, drew water from the village well, and washed clothes. God had done something remarkable in her, but the mundane beckoned.
Yes, the angel may have departed from Mary, but she didn’t forget his message. No doubt, she continued to ponder the significance of “full of grace” and what the “power of the Most High” overshadowing her might mean (Luke 1:28, 35). Surely she turned her thoughts to bearing a child destined to be “called holy, the Son of God” (1:35). She had accepted God’s words, and now it was time to let those words grow and take shape in her heart, even as the child grew and took shape in her womb.
What a model! For nearly four weeks now, you have prepared for Christmas. Maybe God has spoken to you or moved your heart in some way. Perhaps his word has grown in you. And he’s not done yet. There are still four more days of Advent—followed by the whole Christmas season!
And then what? Life will return to normal. But like Mary, you can hold on to these things and continue to ponder them. Maybe start writing down some of the ways you have seen God working—perhaps the time you felt more at peace in Mass or when you were able to say no to a persistent temptation. You can write out a Scripture verse from Mass that struck you or a prayer intention that you want to keep offering. Then, when the “normal days” come, you can keep pondering these words and let Jesus grow in you.
“Holy Spirit, help me to hold on tightly to the things you have been saying this Advent.”
Word Among Us