Years ago the comedian Sam Levinson told the story of the birth of his first child. The first night home the baby would not stop crying. His wife frantically flipped through the pages of Dr. Spock, the childhood expert at the time. She tried to find out what to do to stop the baby from crying. Since Dr. Spock’s book was long, the baby kept crying for a long time.
Grandma was in the house, but since she had not read the book on child-rearing, she was not consulted. The baby continued to cry until grandma could not take it any longer. She finally shouted out, “For heaven’s sake, put down the book and pick up the baby!”
In today’s Gospel reading (Luke 1:26-38), the angel Gabriel appears to Mary and asks if she would be the Mother of the Savior. Would Mary put her own life on hold and pick up the baby? And not just any baby, but God’s own son, the Savior of the world.
All of creation was holding its breath. If Mary said Yes…Fiat, then a Savior would be born and God could reveal himself as one of us. God could come and make a home in our midst. Mary said, “May it be done to me according to your word.” In effect, what Mary was saying was, “Jesus, come and live in me.”
This is not just Mary’s prayer, it is our prayer as well. The Christ who spent nine months inside of Mary promised to abide in each one of us as well. So you and I too can pray, “Jesus, come and live in me.”
We all make resolutions to improve our tempers, get organized, exercise and lose weight. So often we fail. But when we surrender, admit to our own weakness, and turn to the Lord and pray: “Jesus, come and live in me,” watch the improvement that takes place!
What you and I are being asked to do on this Advent Saturday and this Feast of the Immaculate Conception is to put down the book, the smart phone, the remote control, and the mouse and PICK UP THE BABY!