By Sara Kohl
This past Advent I reflected on how backward the liturgical year seems to be: we end the New Year with the glory of the Lord, Christ the King, only to start the new liturgical year the next Sunday with a dimly lit church and the call to of hope by a single purple candle.
Not quite the nearly 12,000-pound sparkly ball that drops in front of millions of people at the start of each calendar year. I know this contrast shouldn’t be surprising, especially since the Lord just arrived to meet us in the humblest form, a child in a manger, but I still find myself bewildered. Most likely because the peace I feel on the first Advent Sunday starkly contrasts the nerves that flood me as I count down to 0 and already regret my new resolutions—often resembling a whole new unattainable lifestyle—that I must begin in the morning.
Each year I make a list of all of my resolutions, usually compiling a list of at least 15 goals. There’s often some vague statements like, “Make more time for prayer,” or “spend [x] amount of hours in Adoration.”
While there is nothing wrong with these goals and the desire they express to know my Maker, it is easy for them to get lost in the clutter and slowly become written off entirely. Then I see the determination of the shepherds in today’s Gospel. After coming to the know the Lord and sharing his glory with others, “the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, just as it had been told to them” (Luke 2:20). They returned. They listened, received, went out, and came back again. Is it really that simple?
Looking To Mary for Guidance
Let’s look to our mother: “And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart” (Luke 2:19). Even before Jesus was found in the temple or performed His first miracle, Mary was paying attention. Her eyes were open to her Son’s glory. She saw how He moved these men and the power His presence had on them.
She saw how He was glorified, praised, honored, and yet so giving before He could even leave her side. Reading that Mary took note of this encounter makes me think maybe I should too. Perhaps it really is that simple. Know, receive, go out, repeat.
Are you preparing for Him to be gracious to you this year? Are you planning for time to let His face shine upon you? My one invitation for you this New Year–my one hope for you–is that you allow yourself to be blessed by the Lord’s mercy each day, knowing of his love for you in that very moment.
I promise, just as with the shepherds, He will always be there waiting.
About the author:
Sara Kohl is a Senior in college from Minnesota where she finds peace and joy in the mundane, such as morning runs, Monday night football, and using all the groceries in the refrigerator. A lover of photography and letter writing, Sara strives to live fully through imitating the virtues of the Blessed Mother in each relationship and in every task; as we said, she’s striving!