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If you have watched any TV this past week, have you noticed that the news programs are carrying more stories about unfortunate people these days…people who have lost their homes, people who are facing debilitating disease, people who seem to have had their whole world fall in on them? Somehow the plight of desperate folks seems all the MORE desperate in the midst of what should be a season of joy.

Have you noticed that those desperate folks do not complain very much. In spite of it all they would have every reason to complain about, they don’t…at least not on camera. It makes us feel embarrassed for all the complaining that WE do.

Take those television news cameras back two thousand years to the little town of Nazareth in Galilee. THERE is a truly heart rending story…someone with as much ground for complaint as anyone of us will ever see – Mary.

Mary could have been as young as fourteen. But she had developed a special relationship with her God. It had been arranged for her to marry a local carpenter, a man named Joseph. Then…a catastrophe. She was pregnant. An angel had appeared to her and said that she would bear a son, a Son of the Most High.

Mary asked, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” The angel told her not to worry: God would father the child in a supernatural way. And then the angel left. In many ways Mary had to feel that her life was ruined.

You and I do not have as much to complain about as Mary. We do not even have as much to complain about as those folks whose stories we see on the evening news…but we do it anyway.

If anyone had cause for complaint it was Mary. Listen and learn from her in today’s Gospel reading: “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord. My spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked upon his lowly servant. From this day all generations will call me blessed; the Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his Name.” (Luke 1:46-56).

As Advent comes to a close, you and I need to start complaining….the way Mary complained!

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