Mary, a not-so-average teenager
How would you react in Mary’s shoes? You’re a girl of about 14 told you’re pregnant, even though you’re engaged (and you know you’ve been a good girl.)
Mary had been raised all her life with the hope of the Messiah’s arrival. She fully understood the honor she had received by being chosen to bear the Son of God. We might expect her to be fearful, embarrassed, to dread, to shun inconvenience. But her reaction contained none of these. Rather, her song of praise in Luke 1:47-55 reflects her attitude. And I get the idea that she was given the choice. She didn’t refuse.
Both John the Baptist and Jesus were named by God via angels. Jesus was given two names. Jesus’ name means “God saves” and Immanuel means “God with us.” Both of these reflect different roles he came to play. Jesus saves focuses on his earthly role, his death providing a doorway for each of us to enter into a relationship with God. The name Immanuel, God with us, shows us what his life on earth really signified, God Almighty coming to earth in human form, AND it showed his role from that point forward. God with us…forever. Day by day. Every day. Right now.
Reflecting on Jesus’ birth during this season should never become a ritual for us (though we’ll have to fight to make sure it doesn’t.) Don’t get me wrong, I like Christmas! But we all have a deeply-rooted need to thrust through the commercial clamor and even the festive fun parts to remember the miracle, to meditate, to focus, to savor each word of the time-worn carols.
God pierced the barrier of our earthly atmosphere to become a helpless infant, completely on our terms. Skin, hair, bone. Cold, itchy cloth, smells of hay in the stable. He experienced it all. And God was pleased to grow him up through every stage of life we go through until he was at last ready to be the mighty yet humble Savior.
We may have to nudge ourselves. Reread the Christmas story in the gospels. Somehow look past, if only for a few moments here and there, the noise and bustle. May we connect with the essence of God’s own heart for the entire world and may we never become numb to the amazing gift that is Christ, the Lord.
Peace on earth and mercy mild
God and sinner reconciled.