Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38)
Each day in Advent, simple candles of royal color light our awaiting for the birth of Christ: simple candles of pure beeswax crowned with the flame of hope. This simple, almost primitive way of piercing the darkness creates direction in a chaotic world.
Mary says, “I am your servant, embracing your will.” Simple words, but words of enormous import. Mary embraced the possibility of being stoned by people of her village. She embraced an earth-changing responsibility – without reassurance that all would be well. Mary chose the little way, the humble way, the grace-filled way, having no answers to what must have been a long list of questions. As God’s servant, she lived in hope and faith.
Jeanne Jugan, too, accepted the little way, simply giving a bed to a woman too sick and blind to continue walking on a wintery street. Jeanne Jugan, too, must have had a long list of questions about the radical change in her life as she prepared meals for her growing household. She, too, as God’s humble servant, lived in hope and faith, seeing Christ in many, and giving them her all.
When we see the wreath of simple, royal candles lighted each day, we are reminded to embrace the servant way with a refreshed anticipation of the coming of Christ among us.