One of the most important questions we can ever ask ourselves is, “Does life have meaning over and above our own designs?” Does life have purpose beyond our making? How we answer this question has significant ramifications for our happiness and peace of mind. Is there a divine blueprint for how life unfolds or are we just random players in a blind universe where everything happens by chance?
Micah is clearly a prophet of the grand design. He announces that God has great plans for the little town of Bethlehem that will have wondrous implications even “to the ends of the earth.” The reading from Hebrews assumes that God has great designs for the world in Jesus Christ and encourages our participation in those designs by submission to God’s will. Elizabeth, in the reading from Luke, proclaims Mary as “blessed” because of her trust in the fulfilment of God’s plans for her.
Believing in a “grand design” or trusting in “the big picture” is not always easy to do. There are times when we are in love, or when everything is going our way, and we feel that all’s well in God’s world. We may look up into the clear skies on a romantic evening and the dazzle of stars reinforces our belief that, “there must be something behind all this.” But there are other times when this belief is severely challenged. Infants die of genetic disorders; children perish in floods or from famine. Innocent bystanders are gunned down by a madman, and calamities befall the most underserving. We get sick for no reason, lose a job without cause, watch a loved one pine away and die in the prime of life. Life can become so filled up with confusion and problems that all we see is chaos.
And yet we are assured by the readings today that there is a grand design. The problem is we don’t want to accept “the big picture” in its entirety. We don’t want to believe that God’s will embraces the bad with the good, that everything that happens is part of God’s design, whether we understand how that can be or not. If we accept God’s will, however, we need to accept it wholly, without breaking it into pieces according to our particular demands and expectations. We gain great peace of mind when we embrace the belief that there is a divine blueprint for the universe that is good, loving, true, and perfect. Effective living is empowered by a belief that we are part of a “big picture,” that there is a purpose and fulfilment for each of us in the grand scheme of things. With Mary we are “blessed” in our trust of the fulfilment. Our joy is increased the more we accept God’s will in its fullness. This means that we accept both the sweet and the sour of life as part of God’s plan, that even tragedy has its purpose even when it is not presently clear to us what that purpose might be.
As Christmas approaches and we celebrate God’s grand design unfolding in the birth of Jesus, trust that God has a grand design for your life too. God willed for you to be, and your life has a special part to play in God’s plan. Pray, as did Christ, “Lo, I have come to do thy will, O God.” Embrace God’s will as fully as you can. Say to yourself often: “Everything in my life has meaning.” Everything! You are never a “victim,” and nothing happens to you purely by chance. Accept your sorrows as well as your joys, your suffering as well as your successes, as all part of God’s will. Your life continues to unfold as a magnificent with God as Director.
(Kent, Micheal, R. Bringing the Word to Life. Mystic, CT: Twenty-Third Publication.)