“Then the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.’” – Lk. 1:30

So often I struggle admitting when I am afraid. Somewhere along the way I learned that I had to toughen up and be a “big girl.” I became really good at anticipating all possible outcomes and preparing myself for them. Preparation seemed to be the antidote to fear. Yet time after time, as life keeps happening, I am proven wrong. Here I am today, ending a romantic relationship and moving to a new city – so scary! The adventure of life seems to be that we can never really be prepared for it.

Now, more than ever, the words of scripture invite me to lean into the discomfort of the events in my life that are out of my control – the ones I never planned for, the ones I never saw coming. But if I take seriously the Advent promise of God choosing to dwell with us, then this invitation is not pregnant with fear but authentic freedom. It is an invitation to be like a child, chosen to do great things, trusting that God is in control and that God finds favor in her. I imagine that Mary never saw her chosenness coming, and so, like me, she was afraid. She could have said no. Her yes held fear and freedom together, simultaneously. This is a gamechanger! She did not let her fear stop her from accepting something new, challenging and out of this world. Today, as millions of Catholics celebrate Our Lady of Guadalupe, mother of the Americas and comfort for immigrants, I hear the words of the angel so clearly breaking through the fear that permeates so many people, our culture and the current state of affairs in our world. I hear God saying that God still enjoys us and is choosing to remain with us. I admit I am very afraid – afraid of failing and of what people perceive my life decisions to mean – yet I am challenged to delight in God’s unfailing love for me. With the help of the Virgencita, may we all choose to do so.

How are you being invited to lean into discomfort this Advent season? In what areas of your life are you choosing to see God’s grace at work?

Ana Lopez