In the readings for the Fourth Sunday of Advent, we meet two people, worlds apart: a very successful king and a 14-year-old Jewish girl from the obscure hamlet of Nazareth.
There had been significant ups and downs in King David’s past, yet, all things considered, he had had a very successful life. When he had time to reflect, he realized that his success was due to God’s generous favors, hence, he decided to build a house for the Lord as an expression of his gratitude. The prophet Nathan, his mentor, agreed. “Go, do whatever you have in mind, for the Lord is with you.” (2 Samuel 7:3)
Here we have two very well-intentioned, good men reasoning with human logic. Thankfully, they remained opened to God’s divine logic! This is in a few words God’s logic: “I appreciate all that you, my children, do for me. However, you must keep in mind, and never forget, the size of my divine heart. If you, David, my child, look back, you are bound to realize that I have been smothering you with blessings throughout your life. What I expect of you is to continue to be obedient, docile, and open to many other surprises, according to my inscrutable and unalterable plan. This is the proper way any of my children can reciprocate.”
King David had to learn to let God be God by showering all his blessings on his beloved child.
Mary too, as the docile and obedient girl that she was, had accepted the arrangements made by her parents by betrothing her to Joseph, and she was getting ready for her future life as a Jewish young wife like all the other girls of Nazareth. That was the norm; that was the right thing to do.
Then the angel’s greeting was so disturbingly unusual that Mary was deeply troubled. His proposal was so preposterous that it triggered all kinds of unsettling questions in her mind. Then, she realized that she was dealing with God, and she surrendered, unconditionally, unreservedly. I would add foolishly, illogically at least from a human standpoint.
Christmas is the pattern of God exuberant entering into our lives, as he pleases, whenever he wants, under any condition, and urging us to reconsider our plans—even those that look and seem sensible, prudent, logical, normal.
Today, the Lord might show that he intends to “rearrange” our designs. He might place a doubt in our minds if our ways are too modest, too safe, too small, too “human” and, thus, ill-fit for true happiness. Hopefully, despite the feverish pace of these holy days, we would manage to find significant moments of silent time– in all like the silence of the night in which the Lord spoke to Nathan; in all like the silence in Mary’s chamber – we would notice how God has already laid the foundation for his radical, bold proposals.
If we find out that we are dissatisfied with important aspects of our life; if we lost self-confidence; if we are content to push ourselves from one day to the next without looking forward to anything out of the ordinary; if we are walking in darkness and notice that we are surrounded by a solid brick wall with no visible way out; or maybe there is too much success and we might make some hasty, imprudent decisions, we need to recall God’s incredible marvels and his boundless generosity to people like King David and the Blessed Virgin, discard our human ways of reasoning and planning and decide to let the Lord surprise us as he alone can.
God’s surprises will begin soon after our trust in him will prove to be truly solid and we abandon ourselves confidently in his hands by saying: I am the servant of the Lord, let it be done to me according to your word.
As soon as we let God be God.