The seasons of Advent and Christmas remind us that we probably should not try to explain and define exactly what’s going on in the world around us.
Strange and wonderful things are going on in the lives of the people in the biblical stories we will hear and they have no idea what God is up to. These seasons bring surprises for all of us—and it may be wise to make some space and time available in order to receive what God is offering and to respond.
Think of Mary, the mother of Jesus, coming face to face with the presence of an archangel and the news of a holy child that she will bear. She’s wondering “how is this possible?” She learns that everything is possible with God – and she remains open to God’s will for her.
I’m wondering if God wants us to be more like Mary. Think of Mary’s generosity, her openness. Mary is vulnerable, perplexed, happy, threatened, all at the same time. So young. Isn’t it just like God to come to a person who does not have it all together yet? Isn’t it just like God to come to the lowly.
Mary is young. Maybe a teenager. Unmarried, with no real standing her society. The religious and cultural law of her time would have her stoned for getting pregnant when she did. Not to mention how she did!
What was God thinking when choosing her? Perhaps, God was thinking, “Ah perfect. She might just receive this and respond.” She does—and she delights in the Lord. She is generous. She is vulnerable. She is perplexed. She is happy. She is threatened. Yet, she breaks into song. Maybe God wants us to be more like Mary?
God knows, and deep down we probably know too, that we are vulnerable, we are lowly, we are anxious, we are nervous. It is a nerve-racking time in which to live. But we can trust that God knows what God is doing. We can trust that God is drawn to those who need. This child born of Mary, Jesus, could not stay away from the ones who were most vulnerable. He was drawn in by their need for him, his word, his healing, his reconciling ministry. He was hard to follow around because he kept veering off the path to reach out to someone who needed him. If God has a “flaw”, it’s God’s weakness for those who are weak. God keeps stopping for them, in order to raise them up.
This is one way to describe the mission of God. It is good news—for what God has done in Mary, God wants to do in you, and in me. May you be blessed in these holy seasons.