Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Advent XXIV

By the time those shepherds left her and Joseph alone with their baby named Jesus, Mary must been beyond being bewildered.  For her the journey to that moment started long before the departure from Nazareth to Bethlehem.  It was a journey nine months in the making.  It was one that started with the angel Gabriel announcing that God wanted her to be the mother of one to be named Jesus as well as Son of God.  Her first step of the journey to Bethlehem is seen in her words of response, "Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word." (Luke 1:38)
We sometimes forget that the mother whose son was worshipped in Bethlehem was hardly out of her own childhood.  She was a very, very young teenage girl.  Had Gabriel visited with a woman of a few more years of life's experiences in her mind and heart, there might have been a Moses like response.  However, with Mary we see youthful abandonment to God which can truly take hold of the belief that with God nothing is impossible.  And even though many of us have grown older and settled into a kind of practical theological foundation that is based more on logic and pragmatism than abandoned faith, we can still remember, with a certain amount of longing, exactly how that kind of spirit feels in our heart and how it propels us into whatever God is saying to us. 
It is this young girl whose heart was open to whatever God was doing through her that we see fully experiencing this present moment of that extraordinary night of divine birth.  When the boisterous, loud, and excited shepherds left, the Word says of her response, "But Mary treasured these words and pondered them in her heart."  (Luke 2:19)  As we draw so very close now to remembering and celebrating the birth of Jesus, let there be some pondering in our own act of worship.  More happened in that single moment of the new born Jesus breathing his first gulp of this earth's air than we could ever begin to grasp.  Mary's pondering spirit certainly speaks of this reality for her.  Just maybe pondering is as much an act of worship as singing, and preaching, and praying, and rejoicing.

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