Fourth Sunday of Advent – Year B

December 18 - December 24

Gospel Lectionary Text

Luke 1:26-38

1:26 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth,

1:27 to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin's name was Mary.

1:28 And he came to her and said, "Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you."

1:29 But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.

1:30 The angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.

1:31 And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus.

1:32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David.

1:33 He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end."

1:34 Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I am a virgin?"

1:35 The angel said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God.

1:36 And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren.

1:37 For nothing will be impossible with God."

1:38 Then Mary said, "Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word." Then the angel departed from her.


Welcome to the fourth week of Advent. We've journeyed through Apocalypse, Wilderness, The House of Crossing, and now we find ourselves waiting with Mary in the Shadowlands—the cloudy place between darkness and light. The text tells us that Mary is “overshadowed” by the Spirit. It's the same term used at the Mount of Transfiguration when “a cloud overshadowed” the disciples. In both instances, the cloud of unknowing transforms into a realm of luminous insight, invitation, and profoundly disruptive consolation. When Mary is overshadowed by the power of the Most High, there is no safer place, no less violating place, and no place more disruptive than the cloud.

It's essential to note that whenever the Spirit overshadows us, it is always with consent. In fact, this is the moment when we hear Mary utter these deeply humanizing and empowering words, “Let it be.”


In what ways are you occupying the cloudy shadowlands, and in what way are you being invited to participate in the coming of Christ?


Come, Holy Spirit, wild and free. Do as you please. Shine your light on me that I might see things as they are, not as I am. Free me to act in your name with courage, creativity, and compassion. See the complete prayer

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Let It Be

She reminds us that transformation is not something that we can either will or work into existence - ever.

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Understanding the Bible anew through the Mimetic Theory of René Girard.

Weekly Homily by James Alison