King David, in our first reading, has a busy agenda, planning to do something for God—he plans to build a house for God to dwell in! Through the prophet, Nathan, God quickly turns the tables and sets King David straight: “You want to build a house for me! Well, I will establish a house for you!” Similarly, through the angel Gabriel, God reveals to Mary that God plans to do something wonderful for her…if she will give her consent. Of course, Mary is hesitant at first (“How can this be?”), but ultimately, she trusts in God: “I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.”
The readings this weekend remind me that I can be busy about doing God’s work, but I need to remember to be open to what God may want to do with me. Maybe I do not think that there is much to change, or maybe I do not want to change, or maybe I do not think that God cares enough to engage me in change. Certainly, this was the case with Abraham and Sarah (Gen 18), when the visitor tells them that when he returns the next year Sarah will be with child—even though she was very old. Remember what Sarah did? Yes, she laughed! You can imagine her saying, “Oh, Abraham, it is a great idea, but we are just too old and too tired!” But, in response, God asks, “Is there anything too wonderful for the Lord to do?”
The Lord promised to do a wonderful deed for David—to establish a house that will endure forever. The Lord promised to do a wonderful deed for Mary—to make her the mother of Jesus, “who will be great and will be called Son of the Most High.” What wonderful deed does God have in store for you and me this Advent/Christmas season? Will we make “room” for God to act? Will we trust that God can act? Will we remember that, stuck in our old ways—think of Sarah!—nothing will be impossible for God?