If you were to ask me which saint has had the most dramatic influence on my life, I would answer, without a moment’s hesitation, “The Virgin Mary.” I believe her prayers of intercession have helped me many times over the years, starting from when I was only one year old and facing a life-threatening medical condition.
But I don’t honor Mary just because of the way she has helped me. I also, and more importantly, honor her for the kind of a person she is: loving, compassionate, peaceful, humble, obedient, and prayerful.
Mary is one of the most revered people ever born. “All generations” truly have called her “blessed” (Luke 1:48). Even today, in a world that is becoming increasingly isolated, people of every background admire this young woman from Nazareth. No one seems to have anything unkind to say about her!
In the first two articles of this special Advent edition, we want to look at the way Mary lived out her faith. We will look at her great trust in the Lord when she said yes to the angel. We will look at how she pondered and treasured God’s work throughout her life. And we will look at how she was able to keep her peace in good times and in bad. Then, in the final article, I wanted to share about the special impact Mary has had on my life.
Every Christmas, we celebrate the “good news of great joy” that Jesus, our Savior, has been born (Luke 2:10). No one on earth has ever appreciated this good news more than Mary. May we all learn to carry Jesus in our hearts with the same love and humility that Mary had when she carried him in her womb.
A Fond Farewell. In December of 1981, we printed and distributed 1,000 copies of the first edition of this magazine. Today, 37 years later, we are printing more than 700,000 copies each month with readers in over 100 countries, and an extra one million special copies for Advent and Lent. Clearly, God has blessed us over these years—and I hope that he has blessed all of you through this magazine as well. So it is with mixed emotions that I announce that this is my last edition as publisher of The Word Among Us.
I want to thank all of you for your prayers over the years, along with the thousands of letters and emails you have sent me. I haven’t always been able to respond, but I have read them all, and each one touches me in a special way.
I also want to assure you that the magazine is in good hands. As I depart, I am handing over responsibility for the magazine to Jeff Smith, the president of our company, and to our editorial director, Leo Zanchettin, Susan Heuver, our managing editor, and Patricia Mitchell, our content editor, all of whom I have worked with for decades. Each of them loves the mission of The Word Among Us as much as I do, and I am confident that they will continue to be faithful to the call of the Lord for this publication.
All of us here at The Word Among Us wish you a happy and blessed Christmas. May God grant you abundant peace, overflowing joy, and a double portion of his love.