It’s Not All About Me – a Late Advent Reflection

It’s Not All About Me – a Late Advent Reflection December 17, 2023

When my mom turned forty, someone gave her a t-shirt that read “it’s all about me.” She received the gift, of course, but then she proceeded to make of it a life lesson for all of us kids. She said that she wanted to adjust it and write a bit “NOT” in the middle of the phrase. “Life is NOT all about me.” Even my life is not all about me. It was a profound lesson, one lived out very practically by my mother every day of her life. And I think it is a lesson we can learn from the great stars of our liturgy as we prepare for the feast of Christmas.

Figures Chosen by God

In the book of Samuel, we read about the beginnings of the kingdom. Through Samuel, God chooses the first king in the person of Saul. David follows him as king. God chooses Nathan as prophet to carry out his plan to intervene in the history of Israel. Nathan is very clear that it is not all about him.

Nathan’s humility

Nathan could have very easily duped everyone into making him king. He was the one speaking to God. They were asking for a king. He could have presented himself as the one communicating with God, and they would have easily followed him. But Nathan never focused on himself. He wanted to do God’s will.  When we pray the Our Father, we say “thy will be done.” We address God, promising him our faithfulness and declaring our desire to do his will. I had a companion early on in formation who would say “my will be done.” Needless to say, he did not continue for very long.

Christmas Tree with Lights
Christmas Tree with Lights | courtesy of Pixels

Concern for the Glory of the Lord – It’s not about me

When David comes to Nathan, the prophet is concerned primarily with the glory of the Lord. He does not focus on himself. Nathan is not seeking his own glory. The prophet does not seem even to be trying to ingratiate himself with David. He looks solely for the glory of the Lord. We should notice that he is initially mistaken. For whatever reason, his cables got crossed and he allowed David to do something that God did not want. God had to come back in a more forceful manner and make him change his message to David. This could have been embarrassing or even dangerous. But for Nathan, the only thing that mattered was to do God’s will.

David knows God has given him power – It’s not about me

David wants to do God’s will. He assumes that God wants a temple. It is from this assumption that he desires to build it. It will require much generosity and sacrifice on his part. But David knows that it is not all about him. As caught up as he might become sometimes in the trappings of his office, he is primarily an emissary of God and he wants to do his will above all else. He knows that it is not all about him.

David and the Church

David represents the kingship, the ruling power of the Church. He too knows that “it’s not all about me.” When Church authorities get caught up in their own authority, they inevitably fall prey to a desire to have power for its own sake. This is dangerous and contrary to the Gospel. We need God to cleanse and purify our hearts.

Mary, Ultimate Model to Follow

Mary is the ultimate example of “it’s not all about me.” She is the model whom we all should follow. The angel comes to her room. Most of us would have been scared to death. And then, we would have proceeded to make it all about us. We would have justified the angel’s visit, seeing our own inestimable worth. But Mary saw it all differently. She wanted to do God’s will and that was all that was important for her.

At Christmas, it can be such a temptation to make it “all about me.” But when has this ever led to happiness? Even the very secular Christmas movie A Christmas Story shows the error of the boy who tries to make Christmas all about buying a Red Rider BB gun. It is only when we learn to empty ourselves, that we make room for the Christ Child. Christmas is about Jesus, not about me.

About Fr. Nicholas Sheehy, LC
Fr. Nicholas Sheehy was ordained a Catholic priest in 2013 for the Legionaries of Christ. He has been involved in youth work including missions, retreats and apostolic outreach in Germany, Italy, the United States and Central America. He is passionate about the New Evangelization and formation for young adults and married couples. He is a spiritual director and retreat director, offering marriage preparation and marriage counseling through the Divine Mercy Clinic and Family Center. He is currently Executive Director and Chaplain of the Newman Center at St. Philip the Apostle Parish in Pasadena, California. You can read more about the author here.
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