Once upon a time, a young man decides to propose to his girlfriend. Their friendship had lasted for five years, and the guy felt it is high time he proposed to her so that they could seal it up in a marriage bond. The young man decided to add drama to the proposal by taking her to an expensive restaurant and had a famous musical group give a prelude to his somewhat poetic proposal. After going through his well-rehearsed lines with his kneel on the ground, the lady said a disheartening “no” and walked away when the guy concluded with the conventional “would you marry me?”. The young man was distraught and broke down in tears.
There are some moments when a “no” as an answer instead of a “yes” could be a devastating experience. That explains why most people shy away from asking because they feel terrible when they get a “no” as an answer to a passionate request. You may connect with some experiences where you honestly intend to help, and you are utterly turned down or when you give out something of great value and someone turns it down with an attitude.
The visit of God to Mary through the messenger, angel Gabriel, as the Gospel tells us (Luke1:26-38), appears like an event of a proposal that needed an affirmation or a denial. Without prescience, Virgin Mary was visited by an angel with a divine proposal to become the mother of the savior. Mary was not forced to become the mother of God. Instead, she accepted and gave a “yes.” She was initially confused on how she could conceive while still being a virgin and the angel tells her about the action of the Holy Spirit: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of God will overshadow you” (Luke 1:35).
The fruit of Mary’s acceptance of the proposal of the Holy Spirit is what we celebrate at Christmas. Without Mary’s “yes” the Annunciation and Nativity would not have been fruitful at the time. We are celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ because Mary accepted to become his mother and our mother too. We are celebrating the Christmas because the Blessed Virgin Mary said a big “YES” to the proposal of the Holy Spirit. We are celebrating the Christmas because Mary reversed the disobedience of Eve. In the garden of Eden, Eve accepted the proposal from the serpent to disobey God and humanity lost its relationship with God. Contrarywise, at the small town of Nazareth, Mary (the second Eve), accepted the proposal to do the will of God and that brought humanity back to God.
The Holy Spirit is still making proposals to us every day and in various ways. What answers are we giving to the Holy Spirit? The Holy Spirit is making proposals to us to live the life in the Spirit rather than the life in the flesh, for the Spirit is at war with the flesh (Gal. 5: 17-22). The Holy Spirit is proposing repentance; the spirit is calling us to love, the Holy Spirit is giving us the proposal to live the life of strong faith in God.
The Holy Spirit is ready to come upon us (like Mary) if we could say “yes” to Him. Christmas is not all about food and drink; we have been eating and drinking before now. It is not all about new clothes, shoes, and other things; most people have no spaces for new ones. It is a time of intense spiritual encounter with God and appreciation for sending us the redeemer.
In the Book of 2nd Samuel (7:5), God questioned David’s plan to build a house for him to dwell. God is still questioning people in our day and age who are building Christmas trees without Christ. It is not all about erecting the tallest Christmas tree; it is about making a small space in our hearts, the new Bethlehem, where our Lord’s would be born. We need to accept the proposal from the Holy Spirit to give as we have received and to forgive as God forgives us (Luke 6:37-38).
May the Christmas celebration bring Christ into our lives and may the grace of the Holy Spirit that overshadowed Mary consequent upon her acceptance of the proposal to become the Mother of God continue to radiate in our lives every day. I wish you every spiritual blessing this Holy Season and in the coming New Year.