This morning I gave an Advent morning of reflection for women in the Twin Cities, jointly sponsored by the League of Catholic Women and the Loyola Spirituality Center. Almost 90 women were present for a morning that included talks, some individual reflection time and group sharing.
My theme for the program was Models of Advent. In the first segment, I talked about Two Who Said Yes, focusing on Mary and Joseph. In the second segment I talked about some Advent figures who model different qualities of discipleship, offering some thoughts about John the Baptist, Elizabeth, Simeon and Anna, and the Magi.
I ended the second segment by sharing the perspective offered by Raymond Brown, in his book A Coming Christ in Advent, on what it might mean for us to prepare ourselves for the coming of Jesus.
Talking about Mary and the Magnificat, Brown writes:
The first Christian disciple exemplifies the essential task of discipleship. After hearing the word of God and accepting it, we must share it with others, not by simply repeating it but by interpreting it so that they can see it truly as good news. As we look forward in Advent to the coming of Christ, let us ask ourselves how this year we are going to interpret for others what we believe happens at Christmas, so that they will be able to appreciate what the angel announced at the first Christmas (Luke 2:10-11). “I announce to you good news of a great joy which will be for the whole people: To you this day is born in the city of David a savior who is Messiah and Lord.”
Brown talks about the Magnificat as Mary’s interpretation of the Word – the way she shared the Gospel word with others. Mary had heard from Gabriel the identity of Jesus and in the Magnificat, Brown says that she “gives voice interpreting what she has heard.”
This time during which we prepare to welcome the Christ child into our hearts is a good time to consider the question Brown asks: how this year are we going to interpret for others what we believe happens at Christmas? How will we help them appreciate what the angel will announce on Christmas morning?