Let it be done to me!

December 3, 2023 at 8:54 a.m.
Anneke Schramm phot0
Anneke Schramm phot0

By Laura Kelly Fanucci

What if the best thing for us to do during Advent is not more, but less?

When faced with the coming of Christ -- in the most visceral way any human could experience another’s arrival, as a mother welcoming new life -- Mary did not say “Let me do it!” or “Let me do all the things!” or “Let me do it better than anyone else!”

She said, “Let it be done to me.” Then she waited, for a long time.

Mary’s famous fiat -- her affirmation to the angel Gabriel who announced the arrival of Jesus -- reminds us what Advent means. Many of us adore this slow, simple season of holy waiting. The sacred resistance to consumerist Christmas (that now seems to starts in September). The liturgical time of preparation for God’s coming among us again, always Emmanuel in our midst.

But we can get caught up in the “doing” of Advent, even with best intentions, forgetting the truth that no practice we take on can come close to the power of God at work in our lives.

Advent is not about devotionals, novenas, Jesse Trees or Christmas calendar countdowns. It is about the Incarnation: the wild, wondrous love of God to come so close to us, to become human like us, to save us. We don’t need to do, read, buy or make anything extra to welcome this wonder.

Believe me, I love Advent more than most. This is the anniversary of when I first learned I would become a mother, after infertility’s agonizing wait. This is my sweet spot in the liturgical year as an introvert (especially now as a mom of many): a time for calm, quiet and waiting in sacred silence. I can be tempted to gather all the Advent books, prayers and practices -- eager to eke out the last drops of goodness from this favorite season.

But the greatest work that God has been doing in me lately is teaching me to do less. To wait. To sit in silence. To prepare my soul, not my plans. To humble my expectations.

For the first time in many years, I have made exact zero plans for Advent. Health complications have made me realize I cannot do anything extra this December. But in a strange way, this Advent-I-never-wanted has drawn me closer to the original coming of Christ.

I picture Mary, startled by news she did not expect, hearing that a sword will pierce her heart. I realize how the fiat that made her a mother also meant deepest suffering. Yet she loved God and trusted that whatever part she was called to play would be guided by the Holy Spirit.

When Mary pronounced her fiat -- the most powerful prayer a human could utter, a resounding yes to God’s incredible, life-changing plan -- the impossible became possible. When we become overwhelmed by Christmas chaos or holiday expectations, may we trust that offering a simple surrender to God can turn everything upside down, too.

Mary’s words can become our prayer. Not “let me do it all” but “let it be done to me.”

On whatever list you make for this holiday season -- decorating, shopping, wrapping, baking -- what to-do might you cross off to clear a corner for stillness? Even as you enjoy the bright music of festivity and the happy gatherings of family and friends, where can you keep space for silence, to listen to God’s word in the quiet of your heart?

If you do not carve out any space in this sacred season for emptiness, how will you be filled by what comes next?

Laura Kelly Fanucci is an author, speaker, and founder of Mothering Spirit, an online gathering place on parenting and spirituality.

When faced with the coming of Christ -- in the most visceral way any human could experience another’s arrival, as a mother welcoming new life -- Mary did not say “Let me do it!” or “Let me do all the things!” or “Let me do it better than anyone else!”

She said, “Let it be done to me.” Then she waited, for a long time.

Mary’s famous fiat -- her affirmation to the angel Gabriel who announced the arrival of Jesus -- reminds us what Advent means. Many of us adore this slow, simple season of holy waiting. The sacred resistance to consumerist Christmas (that now seems to starts in September). The liturgical time of preparation for God’s coming among us again, always Emmanuel in our midst.

But we can get caught up in the “doing” of Advent, even with best intentions, forgetting the truth that no practice we take on can come close to the power of God at work in our lives.

Advent is not about devotionals, novenas, Jesse Trees or Christmas calendar countdowns. It is about the Incarnation: the wild, wondrous love of God to come so close to us, to become human like us, to save us. We don’t need to do, read, buy or make anything extra to welcome this wonder.

Believe me, I love Advent more than most. This is the anniversary of when I first learned I would become a mother, after infertility’s agonizing wait. This is my sweet spot in the liturgical year as an introvert (especially now as a mom of many): a time for calm, quiet and waiting in sacred silence. I can be tempted to gather all the Advent books, prayers and practices -- eager to eke out the last drops of goodness from this favorite season.

But the greatest work that God has been doing in me lately is teaching me to do less. To wait. To sit in silence. To prepare my soul, not my plans. To humble my expectations.

For the first time in many years, I have made exact zero plans for Advent. Health complications have made me realize I cannot do anything extra this December. But in a strange way, this Advent-I-never-wanted has drawn me closer to the original coming of Christ.

I picture Mary, startled by news she did not expect, hearing that a sword will pierce her heart. I realize how the fiat that made her a mother also meant deepest suffering. Yet she loved God and trusted that whatever part she was called to play would be guided by the Holy Spirit.

When Mary pronounced her fiat -- the most powerful prayer a human could utter, a resounding yes to God’s incredible, life-changing plan -- the impossible became possible. When we become overwhelmed by Christmas chaos or holiday expectations, may we trust that offering a simple surrender to God can turn everything upside down, too.

Mary’s words can become our prayer. Not “let me do it all” but “let it be done to me.”

On whatever list you make for this holiday season -- decorating, shopping, wrapping, baking -- what to-do might you cross off to clear a corner for stillness? Even as you enjoy the bright music of festivity and the happy gatherings of family and friends, where can you keep space for silence, to listen to God’s word in the quiet of your heart?

If you do not carve out any space in this sacred season for emptiness, how will you be filled by what comes next?

Laura Kelly Fanucci is an author, speaker, and founder of Mothering Spirit, an online gathering place on parenting and spirituality.


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What if the best thing for us to do during Advent is not more, but less?

When faced with the coming of Christ -- in the most visceral way any human could experience another’s arrival, as a mother welcoming new life -- Mary did not say “Let me do it!” or “Let me do all the things!” or “Let me do it better than anyone else!”

She said, “Let it be done to me.” Then she waited, for a long time.

Mary’s famous fiat -- her affirmation to the angel Gabriel who announced the arrival of Jesus -- reminds us what Advent means. Many of us adore this slow, simple season of holy waiting. The sacred resistance to consumerist Christmas (that now seems to starts in September). The liturgical time of preparation for God’s coming among us again, always Emmanuel in our midst.

But we can get caught up in the “doing” of Advent, even with best intentions, forgetting the truth that no practice we take on can come close to the power of God at work in our lives.

Advent is not about devotionals, novenas, Jesse Trees or Christmas calendar countdowns. It is about the Incarnation: the wild, wondrous love of God to come so close to us, to become human like us, to save us. We don’t need to do, read, buy or make anything extra to welcome this wonder.

Believe me, I love Advent more than most. This is the anniversary of when I first learned I would become a mother, after infertility’s agonizing wait. This is my sweet spot in the liturgical year as an introvert (especially now as a mom of many): a time for calm, quiet and waiting in sacred silence. I can be tempted to gather all the Advent books, prayers and practices -- eager to eke out the last drops of goodness from this favorite season.

But the greatest work that God has been doing in me lately is teaching me to do less. To wait. To sit in silence. To prepare my soul, not my plans. To humble my expectations.

For the first time in many years, I have made exact zero plans for Advent. Health complications have made me realize I cannot do anything extra this December. But in a strange way, this Advent-I-never-wanted has drawn me closer to the original coming of Christ.

I picture Mary, startled by news she did not expect, hearing that a sword will pierce her heart. I realize how the fiat that made her a mother also meant deepest suffering. Yet she loved God and trusted that whatever part she was called to play would be guided by the Holy Spirit.

When Mary pronounced her fiat -- the most powerful prayer a human could utter, a resounding yes to God’s incredible, life-changing plan -- the impossible became possible. When we become overwhelmed by Christmas chaos or holiday expectations, may we trust that offering a simple surrender to God can turn everything upside down, too.

Mary’s words can become our prayer. Not “let me do it all” but “let it be done to me.”

On whatever list you make for this holiday season -- decorating, shopping, wrapping, baking -- what to-do might you cross off to clear a corner for stillness? Even as you enjoy the bright music of festivity and the happy gatherings of family and friends, where can you keep space for silence, to listen to God’s word in the quiet of your heart?

If you do not carve out any space in this sacred season for emptiness, how will you be filled by what comes next?

Laura Kelly Fanucci is an author, speaker, and founder of Mothering Spirit, an online gathering place on parenting and spirituality.

When faced with the coming of Christ -- in the most visceral way any human could experience another’s arrival, as a mother welcoming new life -- Mary did not say “Let me do it!” or “Let me do all the things!” or “Let me do it better than anyone else!”

She said, “Let it be done to me.” Then she waited, for a long time.

Mary’s famous fiat -- her affirmation to the angel Gabriel who announced the arrival of Jesus -- reminds us what Advent means. Many of us adore this slow, simple season of holy waiting. The sacred resistance to consumerist Christmas (that now seems to starts in September). The liturgical time of preparation for God’s coming among us again, always Emmanuel in our midst.

But we can get caught up in the “doing” of Advent, even with best intentions, forgetting the truth that no practice we take on can come close to the power of God at work in our lives.

Advent is not about devotionals, novenas, Jesse Trees or Christmas calendar countdowns. It is about the Incarnation: the wild, wondrous love of God to come so close to us, to become human like us, to save us. We don’t need to do, read, buy or make anything extra to welcome this wonder.

Believe me, I love Advent more than most. This is the anniversary of when I first learned I would become a mother, after infertility’s agonizing wait. This is my sweet spot in the liturgical year as an introvert (especially now as a mom of many): a time for calm, quiet and waiting in sacred silence. I can be tempted to gather all the Advent books, prayers and practices -- eager to eke out the last drops of goodness from this favorite season.

But the greatest work that God has been doing in me lately is teaching me to do less. To wait. To sit in silence. To prepare my soul, not my plans. To humble my expectations.

For the first time in many years, I have made exact zero plans for Advent. Health complications have made me realize I cannot do anything extra this December. But in a strange way, this Advent-I-never-wanted has drawn me closer to the original coming of Christ.

I picture Mary, startled by news she did not expect, hearing that a sword will pierce her heart. I realize how the fiat that made her a mother also meant deepest suffering. Yet she loved God and trusted that whatever part she was called to play would be guided by the Holy Spirit.

When Mary pronounced her fiat -- the most powerful prayer a human could utter, a resounding yes to God’s incredible, life-changing plan -- the impossible became possible. When we become overwhelmed by Christmas chaos or holiday expectations, may we trust that offering a simple surrender to God can turn everything upside down, too.

Mary’s words can become our prayer. Not “let me do it all” but “let it be done to me.”

On whatever list you make for this holiday season -- decorating, shopping, wrapping, baking -- what to-do might you cross off to clear a corner for stillness? Even as you enjoy the bright music of festivity and the happy gatherings of family and friends, where can you keep space for silence, to listen to God’s word in the quiet of your heart?

If you do not carve out any space in this sacred season for emptiness, how will you be filled by what comes next?

Laura Kelly Fanucci is an author, speaker, and founder of Mothering Spirit, an online gathering place on parenting and spirituality.

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