Mary knew who she was to the very depth of her being. She said yes to God and because of that, the world was turned upside down, or perhaps was finally righted. Mary’s is her testimony to the way God intended the world to be from the beginning. Because she said yes, a new creation would be revealed to the world. This woman at the heart of the Advent season is a remarkable role model for us. We might not realize it, but we, too, are filled with God’s grace, even if that grace is clouded and obscured by sin. Mary may have been born knowing who she was, but we are given many opportunities to learn the marvelous truth that we are sons and daughters of God. At times, we mistake humility for inferiority, but in truth humility means knowing who we are, with all our strengths and weaknesses, gifts and gaps. Our job is to clear away those things that keep us from saying yes to God. If we focus only on what’s missing, we miss the beauty that’s already there. As we become more and more clear, we better reflect and magnify the Lord who has given us all that we have, made us all that we are (and can be). And here, too, we can learn from Mary. Again and again, the Gospels tell us that she treasured everything in her heart, pondering the meaning of the angel’s words—and later those of her precocious child. She must have spent long days and even sleepless nights wondering where his adult path would lead him. But through all of ponderings, she knew in her heart that she could trust the God to whom she had said yes. How do you show forth the glory of God to those around you? Pray these words with Mary: My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior. (Luke 1:46–47) We’ll never be asked to do what Mary did. Her role in salvation history was unique. But God asks us to have her openness to those things that we are called to do. Take some time even in this hectic week to reflect on your life—past, present, and future—and listen for how God is asking you to make things right in your little corner of the world.
— from the book Simple Gifts: Daily Reflections for Advent
by Diane M. Houdek