On the first Sunday of Advent we light the candle of hope.
And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”
"The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice."
a quote attributed to Martin Luther King, Jr.
As the nights lengthen and temperatures drop in December, we remember that the times in which Mary lived were metaphorically dark and cold times for people like her. The descendants of Abraham lived under the heavy thumb of the Roman Empire. Income inequality and political and religious corruption were widespread. Caesar proclaimed himself lord of all the known world, and disloyalty was severely punished.
This was the world into which God sent his messenger to Mary, with an unbelievable announcement: that she would bear a Child who would be able to put right everything that human beings had made go wrong. The moral universe, as designed by God, had been horribly warped by the wrong and self-centered choices of human beings. But the Child Mary would bear would begin the repair process. Through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, the arc of the moral universe would begin to bend in the right direction.
When we find ourselves living through dark times, with causes and effects tangled up into seemingly impossible knots, it is good to remember what God's messenger told Mary: "Nothing is impossible with God". God may work in ways we cannot predict, do not expect, and may not live to see, but be certain of this: God is working. God is working in us and through us for the transformation of the world. As Paul wrote to the Philippians, "God is the one who began this good work in you, and I am certain that he won't stop before it is complete on the day that Christ Jesus returns."
We light the candle of hope, because with God, there is hope. And that's good news to me!
Prayer: Come, Lord Jesus, not just into a manger in Bethlehem, but into our minds, our hearts, and every inch of our being. May we say "yes" to you as willingly and joyfully as Mary, and may you use us in your great plan to transform the world as it is to the world you intended to be.
-Submitted by Lorraine Eyer