Mary, the mother of Jesus invites us to reclaim a more meaningful Advent and the reason for the Christmas season. The Gospel reading today from Luke 1 presents Mary as our model, our example, our witness, our sister, our mother who voices for us a pattern of Christmas expectancy and Christmas response. Mary embodies our Christmas feelings, our Christmas questions, and our Christmas pondering, not only in response to the time leading up to Christmas but also in our post-Christmas realities.

In preparation for our post-Christmas reality, ‘the season of Advent invites us to move outside our liturgical constraints to imagine the meaning of a liturgical season beyond its weeks.’ The reflection is that in Mary’s sense, Advent establishes a way of life. A way of faith life. A way of discipleship and surrender. To us who walked in darkness, and dwell in a land of deep darkness in relation to every part of the world and in every religion, Mary shows us so much of how we experience life can be identified with or connected to her pattern. The pattern includes ‘a sense of favour and regard, feeling perplexed, voicing our concern, confusion, wonder, amazement, and then a response voiced liked the prophets of old, “I’m here, God.” Mary’s pattern is very specific, localised, and concrete events in our life especially our life of faith. The set pattern of commitment, questioning and perplexity not only ‘provides the template for action in and understanding of specific moments in our life but also establishes a means by which we might envision the entirety of our relationship with God.’

Beloved, Advent beyond this Sunday and after season of Christmas is officially over calls for a bearing on our life in Mary’s sense ‘as a way of life, a way of life that seems to resonate with the meaning of incarnation.’ To live an Advent way of life in relation to our response to God’s decision becoming human, we go through the process of Annunciation to Incarnation with a response like Mary ‘Yes, Let it be…..’ Mary provides us five stages to unfold the Annunciation- Incarnation process. God always shows up disguised in our life just as He did in Mary’s dark night, her fearful storm, and her empty wilderness. Beloved, whatever may be your dark night, our national dark night, God is ready to show up again. God did not only showed up and consoled Mary, He gave her assurance before the Annunciation of the plan: “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God. And behold you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS.”

To Incarnate God’s process like Mary and as a pointer to Post-Christmas reality, we need ‘the assurance that whatever has happened, is happening now, and is going to happen, is all in the presence and providence of God. We all have found favour with God, we know the favour because we sense our part of the plan. The worst hell possible to a human being is not to know that there is a favourable destiny to our lives.’ What follows our assurance in the presence and providence of God like that of Mary is the announcement of the possibility of our specific and unique plan. The questioning doubt, “How can this be?” is a common inevitable response of human ‘deep encounter with the mystery of God.’ Human’s doubt and unbelief always ‘leave us incredulous and asking, “How can this be?” Our humbleness and surrender to God like that of Mary will not only help us to stand on the edge of mystery and miracle through a mutual partnership with God, it will inspire us to trust in God in our Post-Christmas realities and we “Let it be” according to God’s Word and promises.

We remember in our prayer the families of victims and over 900 people injured after the Tsunami in Indonesia’s Sunda Strait. We also remember in prayers some of the loneliest places and lonely people in the world.