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Nagging Questions

I am the handmaid of the Lord, let what you have said be done to me (Luke 1:38) Fourth Sunday of Advent

A man who was experiencing a variety of emotional problems went to see a psychiatrist about the nagging questions that were plaguing his life: why was he unable to find himself; what was his life was all about? “I want to know who I am and what is the meaning of my life,” he demanded. After listening to the patient, the psychiatrist scribbled a prescription.

“Don’t come back until you have used it up,” she said. When the pharmacist read the prescription, she said to the man, “I can’t fill this, but you can!”

The prescription read, “Spend one hour every Sunday for the next four weeks watching the sunrise while walking in a cemetery.” He did it and then answered his own question.

There is a Peanuts cartoon in which Little Lucy asks, "You know what your trouble is Charlie Brown?" Then, as she often does, Lucy answers her own question: "The whole trouble with you is you don’t understand the meaning of life!" Whereupon Charlie Brown looks straight at Lucy and asks, "Do YOU understand the meaning of life?" To which Lucy answers, "We’re not talking about me, we’re talking about you Charlie Brown!"

I just a few short days, how will we make this Christmas, a fruitful one? Allow me to answer my own questions as we turn to today's Gospel Reading from the first chapter of Luke. There we discover the attitude of the who can answer our questions about the meaning of life. The person whose first Christmas remains the most fruitful Christmas of all time: Mary, the mother of Jesus.

According to the New Testament, Mary is a gracious, strong, sensitive woman. This peasant girl, probably a teen-ager, from the little village of Nazareth way off in the back country, suddenly hears the startling announcement that she has found special favor with God and that she is to become a mother in a very special way. Can you imagine what this was like for this young woman? And the first thing she did was to ask a question which she herself could not answer: "How can this come about?" [...]

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