“I am the handmaid of the Lord. Let what you have said be done to me.”

Luke 1:38

Thursday, 24 December 2020

Luke 1:26-38

When Mary hears God’s message, she consents to what God desires to do in and through her: “Let it be done unto me according to your will.” There is a sense that in her relationship with God, Mary has already surrendered her life to God. Her life belongs to God. She freely sets aside her own agendas and desires so that God can work in and through her.

For many of us, we only begin to have that kind of radical availability and surrender through a lifetime of prayer, love and at times, even suffering. That is the journey of our lives – to gradually make more and more space within us for what God wants to birth through us. To make space often means letting go of being overly attached to wanting things to unfold our way.

This pandemic year has, in many ways, been a school of letting go of our attachments to our own agendas. This is not in any way to suggest that the pandemic was God’s will. But rather, the awareness that in difficult circumstances, we get to practice holding less tightly to the way we envisage things. Time and again this year plans had to be changed or let go, and it has not been easy.

We may also have to let go of our usual plans for Christmas because of the pandemic. Our understandable disappointment and grief can make us bitter and close our hearts.

Or, can we deliberately ask that in our current circumstances, we can open ourselves this Christmas to God’s grace in a new way? Do we trust that that God’s grace and redemptive power is always at work? Perhaps the invitation is to say to God help me to be open to the good that you desire to bring into the world this Christmas through me.

Gracious God,

Help me to surrender myself to you, to trust that you are at work in every moment of history and that you desire to birth something precious in the world this Christmas in and through me - if I will let you.

Amen.

 
Dr Annemarie Paulin-Campbell

Dr Annemarie Paulin-Campbell has worked in the area of Ignatian Spirituality for 19 years and heads up the work of the Jesuit Institute School of Spirituality. Her primary focus is the training and supervision of spiritual directors and the giving of retreats. She is also a registered Psychologist and her PhD focused on the interface between Christian Spirituality and Psychology. Annemarie is an editorial advisor to “The Way” journal of Spirituality and has authored a number of articles relating to the training of Spiritual Directors in an African context. She has contributed to several books, most recently co-authoring a book of Lenten Reflections: “Long Journey to the Resurrection”. She has contributed to international conferences and consultations in Spirituality in the United Kingdom; the United States; Rome; Spain, Ethiopia, Kenya and Zimbabwe.

a.paulin-campbell@jesuitinstitute.org.za @annemariepc_c
See more from Annemarie Paulin-Campbell
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