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Posts Tagged ‘#advent2021’

I am a female, so there is only one person from the Christmas narrative that I can even begin to relate to, that of Mary.

I remember, as a child in Sunday School, when someone would be chosen to dress up as Mary in the Christmas concert. I was on pins and needles, hoping I would be chosen. I mean, other than angels, there were few female roles to play.

That said, she was also the one who gave birth to and raised Jesus, the one who came to redeem the world (including herself) of our sin, born in our humanity.

So …
Mary is also a bit hard to relate to.

Here is the passage where the angel lets Mary in on God’s secret mission for the world, the part she will play and how she responds to this bizarre interaction :

 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”

Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”

The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. For no word from God will ever fail.”

I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.

Luke 1:28-38

As indicated by the emboldened phrases, I think that there are three most important parts of this interaction:

The Lord is with you
How will this be?
I am the Lord’s servant

The angel begins sharing what is come with Mary by encouraging her, saying, “the Lord is with you.” There is no more encouraging message for we humans than to know than that we are not alone, that we will not be left alone. Such a message grows our faith, our endurance, our courage. This message is one that we all receive, when we, in faith, give our lives to God and receive the Holy Spirit who sticks closer than any other.

Mary receives all this news, but does not accept it blindly, for she asks an important question of this angelic being who is weaving an impossible tale, “How will this be?” Her wisdom in asking this question cannot go unnoticed. She is acutely aware that there is no physical, no scientific way she, a virgin, could conceive a child. She needs to know how this will all be possible. She also knows that others will want to know (and how this choosing will impact her life).

The angel gives Mary a response to her question. There is no hedging, no hiding of the facts of how this miracle is to occur. Then, as if in a manner to continue reminding Mary that she is not alone, the angel also reveals the miracle of Elizabeth’s pregnancy in her “old age” (lets face it, Elizabeth is probably my age … dried up reproductively maybe, but NOT OLD). So Mary responds, “I am the Lord’s servant.” No more questions. No hesitancy. No delay in accepting this news.

So, here it is, Christmas Eve …

You and I are not Mary. We are not young virgins, in the Middle East over two hundred years ago.

how can we approach Christmas
with the spirit of Mary?

When Christmas plans fall apart … praise God.

When the gift you hoped for did not arrive … praise God.

When the person you hoped to spend Christmas with isn’t there … praise God.

When your life is not where you dreamed it would be … praise God.

When the one you loved is no longer by your side … praise God.

When you are far from home … praise God.

When arguments happen and hurtful things said … praise God.

When the pandemic rules invade your Christmas plans … praise God.

When you are alone on Christmas Day … praise God.

When the power goes out and the turkey is not roasted … praise God (and make a PB and J sandwich).

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We humans are a bit cra cra (crazy). We use words that simply do not make sense, or, more specifically, we use words in different situations which makes the word not make sense.

Let’s talk love.

We love our mummy.
We love our hubby.
We love pizza.
We love British Crime Dramas.
We love taking a walk.
We (or I) love math.

So … what does love mean, when we use it to describe how we feel about so many varied things?

Today marks week three of our advent season. The week we begin to anticipate the love that came to us from heaven, through the birth of Jesus.

This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

1 John 4:9-10

This is love …

not that we loved God … so our kind, or version or use of love is subservient to God’s. This is a really important truth to consider. And our love for God cannot undo our human condition, it cannot save us.

but that he loved us … when God says that he loves you and me (the world), he uses the word love in no other instance. His love is the ultimate love. It is the ultimate in sacrificial. It is simply the ultimate. We cannot out-love God.

and (He) sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins … God’s love for us is defined in how far he was willing to go to prove it, to rescue us. His redemption of us was through the substitute of Jesus for our good, our eternity.

I think Christina Rossetti said it best,

Love was born at Christmas

First published in 1893, Love Came Down at Christmas began as a poem by Christina Rossetti.

Love came down at Christmas,
Love all lovely, Love Divine,
Love was born at Christmas,
Star and Angels gave the sign.
Worship we the Godhead,
Love Incarnate, Love Divine,
Worship we our Jesus,
But wherewith for sacred sign?
Love shall be our token,
Love be yours and love be mine,
Love to God and all men,
Love for plea and gift and sign.

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