“Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see a shadow,” Helen Keller once said. What a remarkable statement coming from a woman who had been blind since infancy! Although Keller couldn’t actually see the sunlight, she knew it was there, and she also knew that it could overcome any shadow in her life.
In today’s Gospel, Mary has fixed her eyes on the source of all light, God the Father. Although Mary could have worried about what her neighbors might think or how she could possibly raise the Son of God, she chose instead to turn her thoughts toward the Lord. And because of this, her heart was filled with praise and rejoicing.
What a beautiful model for all of us to follow! Like Mary, we too can choose to fix our eyes on Jesus and his truth in Scripture. As we reflect on all that God has done for us, the desire to praise him and rejoice in his goodness to us will naturally well up in us. Then we will be able to pray, with Mary, “The Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his Name.” (Luke 1:49)
Of course, this doesn’t mean that we should ignore life’s difficulties or “sweep them under the rug.” We should acknowledge them and deal with them the best we can, but we should also be sure to keep our faces to the “sunshine” of God’s love and compassion. If we focus only on our challenges, we risk being filled with anxiety and discouragement. And that in turn can cause us to forget that Jesus is always with us, ready to shine his light into every dark situation.
It’s three days before Christmas. Just three more days, and Jesus will come to us again. If you have had fruitful Advent, go ahead and praise and thank the Lord for his blessings. And if your Advent has been less than you had hoped–go ahead and praise and thank the Lord as well. It’s never too late to turn your face to the sunshine of his love. It’s never too late to join Mary in proclaiming the greatness of the Lord. Recall his promises. Remember his love. And his joy will rise up in you.
“My spirit rejoices in God my Savior!”
1 Samuel 1:24-28
(Psalm) 1 Samuel 2:1, 4-8
– The Word Among Us –