In this season of Advent, we are reminded of the power of words. Mary’s fiat, her willingness to follow God’s will changed all of human history by bringing about the incarnation, the miracle of the Word made flesh.

In our daily lives, we experience the power of words. Familiar carols call to mind the birth of Jesus and our gatherings of Christmases past. We remember words that hurt and words that healed. Words have led to wars and have brokered peace. The ongoing investigation of the events of January 6th reminds us of words that led not to the promise of a Bethlehem star but to violence in our nation’s capital. Political speech that has long been partisan and hyperbolic has recently become personal and violent. Posted on Twitter, an animated video depicted a congressman striking Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and threatening President Biden. More recently a congresswoman implied that Rep. Ilhan Omar was an Islamic terrorist. The video resulted in congressional censure, but these examples call us to hold our leaders accountable and to be mindful of our own language. As our Blessed Mother would remind us, when we label someone as one of “those people,” we are harming our family and ourselves.