Wednesday, December 20, 2006

20 December
Letting the Lord Enter

Readings: Isaiah 7:10-14; Psalm 24:1-2, 3-4ab, 5-6; Luke 1:26-38

Let the Lord enter! He is the King of glory.

In our eagerness and enthusiasm to prepare for Christmas, it is perhaps possible to forget one important characteristic of the Lord’s coming, one that is brought out so vividly in the infancy stories of Luke’s gospel. When God, the King of Glory, comes knocking at the door of our hearts and lives, it is often in ways that may surprise and even unsettle us.

We saw this yesterday, when the angel announced to Zechariah that he and Elizabeth, who was already past the age of childbearing, would conceive. And we see it again today, when that same angel deeply disturbs Mary by announcing that she, who is still a virgin, is to bear a child.

If this is true, how best might we go about letting the Lord enter?

Zechariah presented us with something of a negative example yesterday. He doubted. He questioned. He wanted to be sure. And he was struck dumb.

Seeing his fate, when it is our turn to answer the door, we might go to the other extreme and try our best to suppress all tendencies to doubt. Not unlike Ahaz in the first reading today, we may refuse to put the Lord to the test. We may force ourselves to sweep all our questions beneath the carpet of what we believe to be faith. We may close our eyes and grit our teeth and shout, I believe! But, by doing this, to what extent are we really letting the Lord enter our hearts and lives? Are we really allowing our relationship with the Lord to deepen, to become more intimate? Or, by refusing to allow the Lord to share in our interior struggles, are we not quite ironically shutting the door in his face?

Mary shows us a middle way between these extremes. She welcomes and believes the angel’s wondrous message at the same time in which she questions how it might come about. She humbly lays bares the concerns of her heart to the One whose handmaid she is. And God reassures her. God gives her strength to respond. God helps her to see a little further along the path she is to travel.

How is the Lord knocking on our doors today? How might we let him enter?

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