“You will go before the Lord to prepare his way,
to give his people knowledge of salvation
by the forgiveness of their sins.
In the tender compassion of our God
the dawn from on high shall break upon us,
to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death,
and to guide our feet into the way of peace.” - Luke 1:76-79
We begin the last day of Advent; yet my heart is still unprepared in so many ways. We are assured that Christmas will come tomorrow and that we will celebrate God’s nearness and tenderness. A simple encounter ten years ago provides a touchstone moment for me in appreciating how God invites me to collaborate with Him to “prepare His way.”
A few years ago when I arrived at Christmas Eve Mass the priest saw me and exclaimed, “Oh there you are! I was hoping you were coming. I need your help.” He wanted to draw out the importance of Mary’s “yes,” to help the parish understand this responsiveness to God in our own lives. He had come up with this great idea to have me carry the statue of the baby Jesus in the entrance procession, place it in the crèche, and sit down in my seat like normal. At the start of his Homily, I would go and take the baby away. He thought the visual of someone taking the baby away from the crèche would be provocative, and highlight the incredible role that Mary’s openness played in the Incarnation.
I do not remember the words of his homily, but what is seared in my memory is his joy in sharing his scheme with me. It mattered that I had come. It mattered that I participated in this Eucharist. And for that one moment I glimpsed God’s joy in inviting Mary to be a collaborator in His plan. My one small part mattered in his bigger plan. It seemed very insignificant, but he took such delight in asking me to participate, and I in turn was excited to help him make his vision come alive in some small way.
Can I imagine a God who looks it me so lovingly and so excited to share His delight with me? I am as excited as He is to share in this plan?
Reflected by Jen Coito