When the angel Gabriel appeared to the young, virgin Mary she was presented with a choice. A choice that had the potential to change the future of the human race forever. She had to choose whether or not she wanted to receive Jesus into her womb and accept the role as Mother of God. Despite the uncertainty of what might come, she chose to say those six simple words: “Let it be done unto me.” She freely chose to be the “handmaid of the Lord.” This means that, without reservation, she chose to be God’s personal servant. Unlike Eve who responded to God with her “no”, bringing sin and pain into the world, Mary’s “ yes” brought us freedom and healing.
It would have been very easy for Mary to have said no. She had so much at stake by conceiving outside of marriage in her culture. She could have been left to fend for herself and therefore not have been able to raise a child. She could have been disowned by her family and thrown out of town. Or even worse she could have been accused of adultery and stoned to death along with her unborn child. All this could have happened when she said, “Let it be done unto me.” But she said it anyways.
For the past nine months my family and I have been preparing for a new addition to our family. You might be able to understand how much work takes place to prepare for a new baby. Not only does the mother have to buy clothes and diapers, prepare her house, and go to all those doctor appointments, but she also has to prepare her family. For a new baby completely changes lives. My little sister was born last month and she is loved by our whole family and smothered with hundreds of kisses. She has made our life all the more beautiful, but we wouldn’t have been ready for her if we didn’t prepare. Likewise after Mary responded to the angel Gabriel with her “let it be done unto me”, she had to prepare for Jesus’ coming. She couldn’t just say yes and then wait it out. She had to prepare her home and her soul. She probably sewed clothes for Jesus and I’m sure also prayed constantly. And that is what Advent is all about, preparing for a baby. This is a time the Church has set aside to prepare our souls for Jesus’ coming, not only into our hearts, but also at His second coming. Just like a mother prays for her baby and herself, likewise we can prepare for Christmas by asking Mary to help us be ready for Jesus. We prepare for Christmas by buying gifts and food needed for the holiday just like a mother buys clothes and diapers and makes food to prepare for her baby. Let us not forget to use this season of Advent to reflect on our souls and ask ourselves if we have made all our spiritual preparations and are ready for Jesus to come.
Mary is a model of how we should live our Advent. I invite you to make those simple words that Mary said to the angel Gabriel, “Let it be done unto me,” your theme song. Throughout this Advent, when something comes up that is frustrating or not what you expected, just say, “Let it be done unto me” and let God use that situation to help you grow in holiness. Just like Mary we can use these six simple words to bring about freedom and healing. Freedom from anger and frustration. Freedom from allowing impatience to destroy our day. These simple yet profound words have the power to bring healing to our relationships and even healing to our own souls. So this Advent when you’re stuck in a traffic jam and you are going to be late for school or work. “Let it be done unto me.” Use that chance to spend some extra time in prayer with Jesus. When you put a lot of work into planning something and it doesn’t turn out as planned. “Let it be done unto me.” Use that opportunity to grow in the virtue of patience. When you find yourself annoyed or offended by a relative or friend’s comment say to yourself, “Let it be done unto me,” remember that even Jesus, who was perfect, was wrongly accused, and pray that healing will come to your broken relationships. When there’s homework to get done, sports to keep up, cleaning to do, food to make, unite yourself to Mary. She too felt overwhelmed and tired.
In writing this I decided to start early. During this past Thanksgiving holiday I felt a nudge to go help my grandmother with the meal preparations. Although I wanted to relax and hang out with friends, I decided to say, “Let it be done unto me.” I left my own desires behind and offered myself as God’s servant by serving my grandma. After helping her I experienced freedom. God helped me achieve freedom from my selfishness and laziness because I gave some of my time for someone else. I also brought healing. There were times in the past where my grandma felt overwhelmed by all the preparations. Through my service I showed how I truly loved her and helped her not feel burdened. By answering that nudge from God I felt closer to Him and experienced true happiness.
When we say, “Let it be done unto me,” like Mary we are welcoming Jesus into our soul. We are allowing God to use us to fulfill His perfect Will just like He used Mary. Through your “yes” and through my “yes” Christ will continue to be welcomed into our world this Advent and throughout the whole year so that He can bring us all freedom and healing.
I encourage you to make a slip of paper with the words, “Let it be done unto to me” on them and put it somewhere to remind yourself to say these words. Whether it be on the car dashboard or in your office or on your desk or on the bathroom mirror. For me I am going to put it on my school folder so that every time I take it out I will be reminded to say those words. Take a step further this Advent so as to change your Christmas and to change your life.