Christmas Eve Eve: Mary


Oh, Mary. Mary, Mary, Mary. Help me understand. How on earth did you adapt to this new life plan so quickly? You thought your life was headed in one, traditional direction...engaged to Joe...about to start a new life. and Bam. Angel time. Angel time with an EXTREMELY UNIQUE MESSAGE. In the Gospel of Matthew, we don't learn much about you...that Gospel tells the story of Joseph and his dream. But in the Gospel of Luke, we learn about you.

When the angel shows up, he says, "Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you."

The Gospel tells us that you were "much perplexed by his words."

Amen, sister. Perplexing indeed. Sometimes God is so utterly perplexing. Astounding. Shocking. You must have been quite intrigued. And probably pretty scared, too.

"Don't be afraid, Mary," the angel says. And then delivers the breaking update. "Oh...big news, girlfriend. You're going to conceive a baby without the help of any earthly man. Here's the most shocking part of all...it's going to be the Son of God. Sound good? Here we go, girl!"

Understandably, Mary, you were a little stuck on the logistics.

"How can this be? I haven't had sex."

The angel continues, "Yep! No worries. That part is covered. The Holy Spirit will help. Your relative Elizabeth is pregnant, too! Nothing is impossible with God, Mary!"

At that point...I would imagine that the dialogue might continue for awhile. You had to have had questions, right? Like..."What is Joseph going to think?" Or, "THIS IS A HUGE DEAL IN MY CULTURE AND EVERYONE IS GOING TO FREAK OUT AND HOW DO I EXPLAIN THIS TO MY MOM AND DAD?!?!"

But instead of panicking and pitching a fit, you then said, "Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word."

Really?! Mary?! Help me understand. I love you. I love that courage. BUT HOW DID YOU DO IT?! How did you let go of whatever you had envisioned? How did you accept this whole pregnant by the Holy Spirit idea? You are so incredibly brave. So, so, so, so brave.

Then you visited Elizabeth and celebrated with loads of pregnant lady joy. You sang a song of praise. Clearly, you had a sense of the bigger picture of what this baby was all about; you were completely full of thanksgiving and gratitude. You stayed with Aunt Betsy for 3 months. Several months later, it was baby time.


I always thought Mary was interesting. Fascinating really. But I never felt particularly spiritually connected to Mary until I started working up Assisi Heights. There are statues of Mary here and there. And over time, I started feeling a new set of Mary-related emotions.

I wish there was a whole biblical book about Mary. Her insights would sure be helpful.

Instead, we have our imaginations. And a few verses here and there in the Gospels about the months before Jesus was born - and then a few mentions of her presence in the stories of Jesus' ministry.

Mary was able to do something that's really hard.

She was able to let go of her own plans and embrace the will of God. 

She was able to release her own will and wants...because she was able to trust that God was working out something larger than she could have ever imagined. She knew that God's goodness and mercy - justice and compassion - was everlasting. That perhaps enabled her to trust...because she knew that God was still God...and God wasn't going to abandon her.

Thank you, Mary. You took a incredibly brave, bold leap of faith.


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