Posted by: goodmorningmystic | December 25, 2012

Christmas and Great Expectations

I was channel surfing late last Thursday afternoon and clicked on the daily Mass on EWTN. The scripture reading, Luke 1: 26-38, had just concluded. This passage is also known as the Annunciation and is celebrated on March 25 (9 months before Jesus’ birth). It’s one of my favorites …the inspiration for the Hail Mary prayer.  I hung around for the homily.

Luke 1:26 And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, 27 To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favored, the Lord is with thee: blessed ‘art’thou among women. 29 And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. 30 And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favor with God. 31 And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus. 32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: 33 And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. 34 Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? 35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. 36 And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. 37 For with God nothing shall be impossible. 38 And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.

The homily on this particular day on EWTN dealt with the range of emotions experienced by people during the Christmas season. Some of us are happy; some sad. Some years are better than others. Front Porch - 8 inches

Watching my grandson open presents this Christmas morning I’d say we begin to catalog the “experience” – the highs and the lows – when we’re about five years old. I know that his parents set out to give him an experience of profound pleasure. It’s a wonderful feeling to make someone happy, to give someone something they really want.   These early experiences set the tone; they establish expectations for the future.  Sometimes we get what we want; sometimes we don’t. And sometimes we get something what we did not expect.

Like Mary, for example. I’m sure she never expected a visit by an angel who told her she would soon be pregnant and bear the Son of God.  At the time Mary was told her child-to-be , Jesus, would be a King…like David.  Who wouldn’t want this gift, the greatest gift of all?  She was not rude or ungrateful or unwilling to participate in the miracle.  How did she respond?   She said,” be it unto me according to thy word.”  Of course I’ll do it.  Consider it done.  Nothing is impossible with God.

Well,we know how the story turned out.  There was a lot of pain and sorrow and disappointment involved.  And then there was salvation and life everlasting.  The angel was right about the Great and Highest part but he had  left out a few things in between Jesus’ conception and his resurrection.   Isn’t that just like real life.    

Last Thursday I had high hopes for this Christmas.  Visions of great Christmas’s past danced in my head.  I couldn’t wait!  And then…well, this Christmas didn’t quite turn out the way I had hoped.  It occurred to me that the Christmas season is a tiny microcosm of our relationship with God.  We play it over every year.  There’s a lot of hope involved.  There is the giving and the getting and always the acceptance of life – whatever it may bring – good or bad, happy or sad.  Like Mary we say…bring it on!  I’ll do it!  We have faith in the future.

There’s always next Christmas.  Like Jesus, it’s the great expectation.


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