Mary's powerful song of praise (Luke 1:46-55) begins: "My soul magnifies the Lord." What would happen if we took this as a command for ourselves; and what would it mean to interpret it literally?
When you cannot see something clearly, a magnifying glass is a useful tool. When I'm tying a fly onto a leader, I have a little magnifier that helps me thread the almost invisible line through the tiny eye. People who stitch use magnifying glasses to help them. And anyone who wears glasses or contacts understands their necessity.
So what would our world, exterior and interior, be like if our souls were magnifiers, if we held them up to God so that God became clearer and easier for the world, and us, to see? Mary goes on to sing of the lowly being lifted up, the hungry being fed, the proud and the rich and those who think they are big stuff being brought down to size. That is what God looks like, and the soul that makes that clear acts to bring about God's vision.
In the life of faith, Advent is not about getting ready for Christmas: buying and wrapping and cooking and decorating. Instead, Advent is meant to be our anticipation of God's promised presence in the world. God has come in Jesus long ago, and the scriptures inform us that God will come again. And in my soul, I know, too, that God in Christ is here and now. So, I take as my Advent task (along with the shopping and the celebrating!) figuring out I can make that presence as clear as possible with my own life, how I can hold my soul up to God so that God shines through, magnified, bright and clear!