By Sarah Damm
Over the last three Sundays of December, we have heard the promises of Christ’s coming. We have been encouraged to “not become drowsy from … the anxieties of daily life” (Luke 21:34). We have been invited to “prepare the way of the Lord” (Luke 3:4). And when we asked, “What should we do?” (Luke 3:10), we were told of the Messiah and all He would do for us.
Now, on this fourth Sunday of Advent, we hear, “Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled” (Luke 1:45).
In today’s Gospel, we enter the sweet encounter between Mary and Elizabeth.
Prior to this, Mary was visited by Angel Gabriel, and she believed all that he told her … She believed that what was spoken to her by the Lord—not only at the Annunciation but throughout Salvation History—would be fulfilled. She knew nothing was impossible for God. And with incredible faith, Mary said yes.
Likewise, Elizabeth also believed. The wife of a priest, she knew her Scripture and her people’s history. And at the moment she greeted Mary at her door, her son—a miracle in and of himself—joyfully leaped in her womb. Yes, she also knew nothing was impossible for God. With incredible faith, she also said yes to God’s plan.
And now, dear sisters, we are invited to be counted among the blessed. We have heard the Lord’s promises, and now it’s time for us to believe. It’s time to receive what we’ve been anticipating, to rejoice in the long-awaited gift.
Are we ready to believe? Are we ready to enter into the miracle? Are we ready to say yes to all that is possible for God?
Perhaps our answer to these questions is no. Perhaps we don’t feel ready to believe and to say yes.
Instead, maybe we are wrapped up in a long Christmas to-do list, and we feel too busy to be ready. Maybe we’re just too tired of the busyness, and life feels too overwhelming and hectic to enter into the miracle. Or maybe we’re waiting for a job offer, test results, our next paycheck, or a child to return to the Church, and we wonder how we can possibly be ready to trust the impossible to God.
It is hard to believe when life is not calm and bright. When life isn’t going smoothly. When we feel overwhelmed and burdened.
But my guess is that all was not calm and bright for Mary and Elizabeth either. Yes, they were women of great faith, but when God invited them into His plan, their plans were completely turned upside down.
Mary faced the possibility of divorce and scandal. Little did she know that she would face immense suffering, especially at the foot of the cross. Elizabeth faced gossip and misunderstanding. How could a woman of her age be pregnant?
Maybe Mary and Elizabeth did not feel so ready either.
But they chose to trust and believe all that the Lord had spoken.
And so can we.
Jesus came down to earth at Christmas to dwell among us, to walk with us amid suffering, pain, and sadness. He came so the weary world could experience the thrill of hope.
We don’t need to feel ready to be ready. We can believe and say yes, just as we are—imperfect, broken, weary and fragile—trusting it all to God’s promising word.
The lantern is shining in the stable, welcoming us into the miracle.
Ready or not, here we come.
About the author:
Sarah Damm is a Catholic wife and mother of six children, living in Minnesota. She spends her days running errands, helping with homework, and keeping up with laundry and the family schedule. Sarah loves her faith, coffee, and good books. You can find out more about her and her writing at sarahdamm.com.