During the annual Vespers of Thanksgiving and singing of the Te Deum the Holy Father in Rome gave a wonderful reflection on time. I had the chance to read it ahead of time but couldn’t post until now.
First, he constrasts the different secular traditions people have for the end of the year with the way Christians should understand the moment. Benedict emphasized seeing this time of year with a Marian view, who gazes at the Christ Child.
Benedict also speaks of the "fulness" of time. This is interesting.
Two different evaluations of the dimension of time thus contrast each other, one qualitative and one quantitative. On the one hand, there is there is the solar cycle with its rhythms; on the other, that which St. Paul calls the "fullness of time" (Gal 4:4), namely, the culminating moment of the history of the universe and of the human race, when the Son of God was born into the world. The time of promises was fulfilled and, when the pregnancy of Mary had reached its end, "the earth has yielded its increase" (Ps 66 :7) as a psalm says. The coming of the Messiah, foretold by the Prophets, is qualitatively the most important event in all of history, to which it confers its own final and ultimate meaning. Historical-political coordinates do not condition God’s choices, but, on the contrary, it is the event of the Incarnation that "fills up" the worth and meaning of history.
The Holy Father then returns to his Marian reflection, speaking to how Christ was born of God and also born of Mary, so that He would have a fully human nature through which He would save us.
At the end of the Ave Maria we ask Mary to pray for us sinners. At the end of the year, the Pope reminds us to invoke Mary’s help for the world.