“One Simple Word” by Rebekah Alva
Think about the last time you freely said “yes” in giving away your time, talent, or treasure to someone in need. Was it hard to do? Were you selfishly holding on to the “what I could be doing” or the classic “what will I get in return?”
Surrendering ourselves is not exactly the easiest task set before us on this earth, but it is a task of the upmost importance in order to make way for the coming of our Lord.
My friends, we are entering Advent, (in my opinion) the most exciting time of the calendar—and liturgical—year. We are waiting in joyful hope, the coming of our savior, Jesus Christ!
“Hark!” the herald angels sing. Do you hear what I hear? O come, all ye faithful, it’s Christmas everywhere! Deck the halls, let it snow, and have yourself a merry little Christmas because we’ll be rockin’ around the Christmas tree on a happy Christmas (war is over) to the tune of Feliz Navidad…*breathe here.
We are told it is time for stockings and sleigh bells and shopping and super savings. Carolers and cookies and Christmas trees and candy canes. Wreathes and wrapping paper, toys and turtle doves…
I sometimes feel as if this is how the entering the Christmas season feels to me. Christmas song after Christmas song on the radio, in the department stores, and even now on Georgia Street! Glitter here, glamour there, even this season of giving has become so secular, if you will. Sales on items we won’t even remember this time next year are made to look so attractive that we could not possibly get by without them…and yet by January 5th, these things still leave us feeling empty.
Being a student, there are so many school-related things to get done before December 25th as well, yet the time frame between Thanksgiving and Christmas is so short. The anxiety comes creeping in, along with the scents of pine trees and Christmas cookies, and before we know it, the Lord is on His way.
How can I break the societal rush, hustle and bustle, and just complete chaos? How am I to truly enter into this joyous Advent season, apart from the cultural confusion?
…and then I think about Mary’s yes. “I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be done to me according to your word.” (Lk 1:38) Mary said yes to something the Lord had asked of her, to the future of the people of the world, and most importantly, to the unknown.
By Mary saying “yes” to the Lord, she became THE role model in surrendering to the will of the Lord, aside from Jesus himself. By saying yes to the Lord, Mary expresses TOTAL obedience. By conforming to God’s will, Mary anticipates the attitude of Christ, ready to live the life that divine love had planned for her, which would end with her only begotten son dying for our sins. She hadn’t planned this…She couldn’t put her life on hold either. The Lord worked in and through her, because she was open. She was open to giving life and light to the world, to becoming the mother of God.
Again, think to that time when you chose to say “yes” to the promptings of the Lord. What did it feel like? Was it painful? Did it fill you with joy? Did it stir in your heart feelings you haven’t experienced in a while? Did it slow you down, to truly think about what was going on in your life at the time?
I think of Mary’s yes, and all societal views of this joyful season fly out the window.
Jesus is the sole reason for the Christmas season, and we know this to be true. As we journey into the Advent season, let us take time, make time rather, to be with our Lord, to truly ask Him how He would like us to prepare the way for His coming. To truly enter into a relationship with Him, is what Jesus asks of us. What better time to do so than while waiting for him in joyful anticipation.
I was challenged the other day in Bible study, by naming one of the practical ways am I entering into Advent. It made me stop and think…
This isn’t a question I’m prepared to answer, I thought. A concrete way to give myself to the Lord, to show my joyful anticipation? A way to grow closer in relationship with others during this fast-paced season? A way to slow my mind and heart and just be vulnerable, as was Mary, and allow the Lord to work in and through me?
Along with ideas I shared with the group, one simple word came to mind.
Christ is coming to show us what life should be like, what it can be. Jesus knew the human heart could not live alone, in darkness and isolation, so he formed the Church, who should sing of his goodness and proclaim his coming through songs of the season. All the things of this season have a goodness to them, until we become consumed by them. As a people held together by love, we discover unlimited possibilities and meaning, so think about that throughout this Christmas season. United together, and with the infant Jesus and His most Holy Family we find real meaning. We find that even in the midst of chaos, letting the Lord in provides peace, true peace that is not fleeting. We find that being open to the Lord and His will, great things will happen to our hearts. And as Mary, when we say “yes,” we surrender ourselves to make way for the Lord to fill us with new life, and light, that we can share with the entire world.Rebekah Alva hails from a region just outside “The Region,” and was welcomed by Indianapolis to attend IUPUI. She is part of the Catholic Student Organization at IUPUI and leads a Bible study on campus. Rebekah will be graduating from journalism school in May, and she is looking forward to the Lord placing her on a college campus to serve Him as a Catholic missionary through FOCUS. Rebekah enjoys being outdoors, being with friends and family, and being barefoot.