January 1, 2023
Scripture Reading: Luke 2:29-33
MARY – PREGNANT AND WAITING
There is probably very little justification for my being the one to tackle this topic. Mary Ann and any one of you mothers in the room are more qualified.
Every so often during Advent, my mind has been drawn to the wonder of pregnancy – and specifically, what it must have been like for Mary to carry Jesus inside her for 9 months. And, nearly two weeks ago now, I sat with five women at the Advent “Soup and Study” and we spoke of the experiences of Mary and Elizabeth, cousins who were pregnant at the same time. Ann Marie from Trinity and Mary Ann from St. Johns led us in considering what it must have been like that time when Mary journeyed to the home of Elizabeth and how they blessed one another and surely compared notes about what they were going through. I can’t imagine! What is it like, what does it mean to bear any other human into the world? What more does it mean to bear Christ into the world?
How do you wrap your mind around the concept of another tiny human, with all of the attributes of any other human, beginning to take shape inside your body?
All of the medical and technical advances in the world cannot diminish the wonder of that process! We men can only come just so close to this mystery with our “second-hand wonder.”
US – PREGNANT AND WAITING
Maybe you’ll think me a bit presumptuous when I suggest that what happened to Mary in a physical, visible way happens again and again in a deeply spiritual way to those (women, men, children) who make themselves available to the very same Holy Spirit whom the angel said would “come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.”
What if that Holy Spirit is waiting to so deeply inhabit us that we (you and I) have the privilege of bringing Christ into the world again and again? Could we be so bold to say that we, too, can become “pregnant” with Christ in order that Christ may become real in our day to day world?
The Bible often takes a historical, physical event and uses it like a divine metaphor for something that not only happened once in time and history, but metaphorically happens over and over in God’s plan to transform the world.
Maybe it sounds preposterous to you, but I’m suggesting that the Holy Spirit is always wanting to “come on us so that the power of the Most High will overshadow us” in such a way that Christ becomes real and visible to our world.
But I want to remind you that how God worked with Mary and Joseph is how God almost ALWAYS works with people. God has always used the most common of events, the most common of people, and the most common of places to bring light into dark places, hope where there was none, and purpose where there was meaninglessness.
Pregnancy is not an uncommon experience. God didn’t choose some singular, spectacular once-in-history type event. God chose two very common people – poor, unlearned, obscure people through whom to bring Christ into the world.
God didn’t choose some spectacular place like a grand cathedral, or some great natural
wonder like the Grand Canyon as the backdrop for this miracle of miracles. God chose Bethlehem, a place that would never have captured our attention had it not been for this baby’s birthplace. Go didn’t even choose city hall, just a cow stable!
Think about it! God doesn’t wait for a king or a president or a scholar to be the one to heal, lift, and love. That has never been God’s way.
IT IS YOU! And like families all do for 9 months when they wait, we wait to see what the Christ child will look like when this little one from God is born in you! That’s the Big Reveal. It is the moment when we all see how God is using YOU to make Godself real and visible and relatable in our time.
The Big Reveal can be a major shift in direction for any one of us – or an almost unnoticeable act of love. It can be a life turn-around or just one more little gift we bring to God to use as God sees fit.
And like the Big Reveal on those TV remodeling projects, we never seem to be able to predict exactly what a life given to God will look like. All we know is, it won’t be what we expected it to be because there is this amazing God-likeness that transforms our human availability into a divine wonder!
WHAT A CHRISTMAS STORY!! Of course the whole collection of events and wondrous things around Jesus’ birth continue to fill us with joy and amazement. But we must not forget the ONGOING Christmas story – the ongoing birth and rebirth of Jesus Christ again and again as God’s people say along with Mary who said to the angel: “I am the Lord’s servant, May your word to me be fulfilled.”