Thursday of the fourth week of Advent
The readings for the day can be found here.
We Are Filled With Joy
Pressed by the haste of everyday life we are neither used to the patient prayer of Hannah, nor comfortable with the faithful submission of Mary. Before we will praise the Lord we demand that He grant our request. Before we will worship Him we require that He please us. He is not always in the business of pleasing us. What He asks of us is patience and trust, patience like Hannah, trust like Mary.
Waiting only seemed to deepen Hannah’s conviction that the God to whom she prayed was faithful. She did not pray or hope because God had given her reason to expect a son—He did not promise a son. She prayed trusting His goodness, leaning on His love. So it was that the heart swollen with gratitude eventually burst forth in praise. “My heart rejoices in the LORD,” she declared.
Mary too received her wondrous news with a song; “My spirit rejoices in God my savior.” Oh yes, there was the little trouble of the sword that would pierce her soul, but that mattered little (Lk. 2:35). God had “looked upon His lowly servant,” and she was filled with joy.
Despite the trials we face, God knows our hearts well enough to call forth sweet melodies from brokenness. It is He who gives “beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that [we] might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified” (Is. 61:3).
He alone can promise the piercing sword and elicit praise. We must pray, wait, trust, and rejoice always in the Lord for He has done great things for us.