Grace and peace to you from God the giver of life and the Lord Jesus Christ!
As we come to our final Sunday of the Advent season we once again hear from Mary, a young woman who encounters a messenger of God. She is told she is going to be the mother of our Lord. Unlike others in Scriptures who try to wriggle their way out of a God given task such as Jonah, Moses, Amos and others, Mary proclaims to the angel, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word” (Luke 1:38).
She later sings an amazing song, the Magnificat which proclaims how God through the birth of Jesus will turn the world upside down giving hope to the lost, lonely, and poor.
From then on, we are told in scripture how Mary is present at critical times throughout Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. It will be a journey of high hopes, struggles, sadness, pain and celebration.
Certainly, it wouldn’t have been easy for her to break the news of her pregnancy to her betrothed, Joseph. What did her family and friends think? They take the trip to Bethlehem and she gives birth in a stable (cave according to orthodox tradition). In the Gospel of Matthew, he records soon after Jesus’ birth, Joseph and Mary escape into Egypt for fear of Herod. In Luke, Mary is told in the temple that the child would cause “her soul to be pierced.” She fears the worse as a mother when she can’t locate her son because he stayed behind talking with the elders. She is there when Jesus performs his first “sign” according to the Gospel of John. She tells the wine steward to listen to her son. She is at the foot of the cross watching as her son dies. He tells John to take her as his mother and she as his son. She is a witness to the resurrection.
Mary is the first disciple and a faithful one at that! Mary’s obedience to God and her love of Jesus are the epitome of what it means to follow Christ.
We are blessed by her witness and thankful for the example she sets before us ever so humbly.
This week we join with Mary in celebrating the Good News she received and at the wonder of that first Christmas as she holds the Christ child close to her heart.
Thanks be to God! May the Advent of Our Lord and the joy of this upcoming Christmas season open our eyes to God’s unconditional love given in Christ Jesus our Lord!
Father Dave +