As Advent begins our thoughts often turn to the gifts we’re hoping to receive and what gifts to get for loved ones. It can be quite a challenge. But how often do we think of the real gifts that we should be asking for?
As I meditate on the Rosary mysteries throughout the year, I usually preface each decade by asking for a virtue associated with that mystery. For instance, for the Resurrection I ask for Faith and for the Ascension- Hope. I’m not original…got it from a rosary prayer meditation guide years ago.
But when it comes to the Birth of Jesus, I get very bold and ask for three virtues.
The first one is Detachment. I think of how if I were Mary I would have been pretty upset about the accommodations and been stressed and disappointed and…okay, I admit it…probably complaining. And it wouldn’t have started when the innkeepers said no. I probably would have started kvetching once the census was announced and Joseph said we were going to Bethlehem. And I’m pained to admit this…I’m not sure I would have been complaining about the injustice and indignity to the King of the Universe about to come into the world. More likely I would have just been miserable for myself. Imagine if Mary were like me? (Horrors!)
Can any of you relate? We complain about so many things but as we look to the example of Mary and Joseph, they humbly submitted to God’s plan and brought the infant Jesus into the world in a cold, drafty stable and placed Him in a manger, otherwise known as a feeding trough. Wow. The wisdom and symbolism are incredible…this Jesus, taking on human flesh humbled Himself from the very first moment of His birth. The bread of life who would feed the world with His own flesh, wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger. What more could Mary and Joseph have asked for? This was simply, amply and profusely enough.
So…detachment. Not having preconceived ideas or attachments to the way we think things should be or to the way we would like them to be, but submitting our wills to God’s and reaping the amazing beauty and blessings He has in store for us. It’s a great route to happiness and antidote to so much misery of our own making.
The next virtue to ask for is Simplicity. I think of these humble shepherds tending their flocks and the hosts of angels that appear to them with the amazing news. Those partying in the inns may have been distracted but these simple souls receive an unexpected and incredible gift- to be the first to pay homage to the Savior of the World and the ultimate Good Shepherd of their souls. We need to be simple and receptive to a God whose very nature it is to give and to bless.
Lastly, ask for Wisdom. We call the Magi the Wise Men for a reason. These magi were learned men, kings in their own rite, who were actively searching for their true King…the Messiah. Asking, they received, seeking they found, knocking and the doors were opened to them.
Never stop looking for God…never give up hope of finding Him. But be prepared to find Him where you least expect Him.
God love you. Have a blessed Christmas.
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