“How Can This Be?”

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“How can this be?” These are the words we hear Mary respond to the Angel in Luke’s Gospel, when he informs her that she will conceive the Messiah. (Not big news or anything, right?) This is frequently my response to many moments in life that catch me by surprise or change my plans. I often find myself focusing less on what God wants from me in that moment, and more on the details – maybe it wasn’t what I wanted, what I expected, or what I had prepared for. The thing is, the phrase Mary responds with is not the end of her story. 

While we, in our humanity, get caught up in control of our lives, Mary shows us even in her humanity, the great ending that can come from trusting God. Mary continues, “Behold, I am the handmaiden of the Lord. Be it done to me according to your word.” In other words, “God, I’m here to serve you. Do whatever you wish with my life.” She doesn’t stop in the details. She submits to the fact that maybe, just maybe, God has something incredible in store for her. Mary, especially during advent, teaches me to wait with joy, rather that anxiety, or distrust. She left us all with the perfect example of humility: it’s okay to ask questions – of course! Yet if we remain faithful, with an open heart, God might reveal himself to us. That, it seems, is much better than my own plans.”

By: Jessica Mazal