Mary’s “yes” is a choice to participate in God’s work of healing the world. … It’s not about taking orders simply because they are written down, or spoken, or demanded. It is about a careful and thoughtful and whole-hearted decision to participate. It is about claiming the authority God has given us.
The young clergyman and his wife do all the things you do on Christmas Eve. They tuck in the children. They lug the presents down out of hiding and pile them under the tree. Just as they’re about to fall exhausted into bed, the husband remembers his neighbor’s sheep. The man asked him to feed them for him while he was away, and in the press of other matters that night he forgot all about them.
The idea of a penitential season before Christmas doesn’t play too well with ordinary civilians. Thanks to centuries of bad p.r., the whole idea tends to sound to the average person experiencing loss like a church plan to kick a person who’s already down while everybody else is out whooping it up with Christmas sales and eggnog.