It’s Advent once again. As we prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus, we naturally turn to Scripture and the Nativity story. As one of the mysteries we meditate upon in the Rosary, the story of the Nativity offers us so much to contemplate. I always like to pray for a corresponding virtue with each decade. For the Annunciation I pray for humility— the foundational virtue found in Mary to such a full extent. For the Visitation, I pray for the virtue of charity. But when I get to the Nativity I ask for three virtues (it is the time to expect gifts, after all).
The first virtue I ask for is detachment. I think about Our Lady. Nine months pregnant and due to deliver and Joseph tells her they have to travel to Bethlehem. Now, I don’t know about you, but that would not have been welcome news to me…in fact, the old me would have railed against it quite vehemently—and likely missed the beauty of the entire nativity experience. But Our Lady is not like me…without complaint she got on the road and allowed God’s plan to unfold. She was detached.
For most of us, this virtue would take us a long way toward happiness. We all tend to get so attached to what we think will make us happy and too rarely allow God to act and lead. So, detachment is the first virtue I ask for with this mystery.
The second virtue is simplicity. Let’s face it, you can’t get more simple than giving birth in a manger. But more than that, I think about the shepherds out in the fields to whom the angels revealed the good news. I’m sure the angels could barely contain their joy and it needed to spill out somewhere. The shepherds were simple folks that were open to receiving the good news and because of their simplicity were given the most amazing gift of being the first people to behold the Messiah. Let’s ask God for the same simplicity that He may reveal Himself and His Son to us.
The last virtue I ask for when I contemplate the Nativity is wisdom. First, I think about the Wisdom of God that is so far above our own. How God slipped into the world quietly, without fanfare and in poverty. Those worldly souls looking for power would miss it (and many still do) while simple people of good will would have Him revealed to them. Those wise souls who seek Him would also find Him. The Magi are described as Wise Men who sought out and found the Messiah. They used their intellect and science to read the signs that pointed to this momentous event. And they brought special gifts, that not only honored Him, but that would benefit Jesus and His family.
The lessons are these:
- Be detached from your own plans and your own wisdom. God’s ways are so far above ours and in His will is our ultimate happiness.
- Be simple, not filled with yourself or your own notions of wisdom that God may reveal Himself and His plan to you without resistance.
- Be wise and always keep searching for the Truth. Never give up. When you seek Him you will find Him often in the most surprising and humble places. Bring Him Your gifts, especially the gift of a humble and open heart that trusts Him and His eternal love for you. And then receive His blessings.
Wishing you a blessed Advent and a joyous Christmas!
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