Anticipation is an incredible force.
Researchers surveyed 1,530 Dutch adults, 974 of whom took a vacation during the study period. Here’s are the findings: “Those planning a vacation were happier than those not going away, and suggests that this may be due to their anticipation of the break … Following a trip, there was no difference between vacationers’ and non-vacationers’ happiness, unless the time off was very relaxing, in which case the slightly increased happiness was particularly noticeable in the first two weeks back. The effect wore off completely after eight weeks.”
When I hear this passage of Mary learning about her very special call, I hear it as the beginning of the crescendo that is our Christmas story: the annunciation to Mary, Elizabeth pregnant too, the Emperor calling everyone to be registered, a donkey, an inn with no bedrooms to spare culminating in the ultimate moment of Christ’s birth in a ramshackle shed.
Anticipation is a potent. And in this spirit, it may be a distraction in reading this passage. I invite you, for a moment today, to set aside your anticipation and look at Mary’s powerful example to unabashedly accept God’s call.
Mary’s is a call to perhaps the most important lay ministry ever—to be a vessel of the miracle birth of a Savior. What is God calling us to do in our lives? When that call comes, will we follow Mary’s example with an immediate and unquestioning affirmation? It may be too difficult to think that way. Yet what a powerful example Mary is to us all when God comes into our lives.
Let us pray: Benevolent Father, we find ourselves in eager anticipation for the arrival of your son—for Christmas. Help us to quietly pause and listen to your call in our lives. Empower us to respond to your call as faithfully as Mary. We pray in your name. Amen.