This is a syndicated post from Daily Meditations with Fr. Alfonse. [Read the original article...]
Dec. 20th (Friday of the Third Week of Advent(Click here for readings)
The angel said to Mary, “Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.” But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.”
The time right before Christmas can be horrible! Last minute shopping and shoppers can drive any sane person crazy!
While delivering my homily this morning, I saw some pretty grumpy faces. I thought to myself, “Boy are some people in need of some Christmas cheer or eggnog.”
Why the grumpy faces? Why the sad expressions? Have we lost the meaning of Christmas? If so, then it is time we put some lights not only around our Christmas trees but around our faces as well. Lights this time of year are a reminder of the beauty within us and around us, even in times of total darkness.
Mary, you have found favor with God. There is no doubt Mary lived in a time of great darkness: where promises looked more like dreams, and dreams turned into nightmares. Over time, the Chosen People of God had become a dispersed and lost people. Their nation, forsaken.
But Mary was different.
Please do not condemn me for saying this, but there is a popular character of fiction that reminds me a lot of Mary. Her name is Effie Trinket, the ”ever-most” optimistic person in The Hunger Games saga, and the only one on earth who truly believes the odds may actually be in someone’s favor!
Let me clarify something: Mary was not ditzy. She was brilliant. She shined in the midst of chaos and misery. And for this reason, she found favor with God.
But how? What did she do? How did she do it? Well, we all know Mary received remarkable graces from above. We all know she was conceived immaculately. But for any of us to think that was all it took to explain all her glory would be a fool. It’s not enough just to win the Lottery to become famous. It’s important to do the right things with it, otherwise, we could end up infamous.
God does not plant trees in the world. He plants seeds. Mary grew in God’s favor.
You have found favor with God. Do I shine in God’s eyes? Am I pleasing to his sight? Have I done the best I could with the graces I received? Have I found favor with God?
While we work our way through traffic jams and red light enforced intersections, let’s not forget that Christmas is all about a gift no one could ever buy: the gift of God living among us and loving us.
This Christmas, give the gifts you can buy as well as the gifts no one could ever buy: your faith, your hope, your love, your time, your presence, your touch, your prayers and your heart. Give the gifts that shine in total darkness. (213)