Journey with John
Christmas has passed, but, I’m still stuck in Luke’s text wondering – Why did God choose Mary? And, why did Mary so easily accept God’s call? Surely, there were more qualified women – better educated, those more financially secure, with greater experience than her. Mary seems an odd choice. She was poor. She was naïve. She was young. Why did God choose her above all others? A clue is given in the angel Gabriel’s word to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.” (Luke 1:30) Something in her life found the approval of God. Perhaps it is found in her response. Mary asked how it was possible to be with child when she had never been with a man. The angel informed her, “For nothing will be impossible with God.” (Luke 1:37) It was enough, Mary responded, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38) No grilling the angel for details, no arguing about how this might affect her future. The Lord said. She accepted. Extraordinary! It would appear God had faith in Mary and Mary had faith in God. With that kind of connection, I guess my question seems rather silly.
Maybe, it’s not a question of why God chose Mary, but why God chooses us to carry the Christ Child into the world? How do we answer? I read a disturbing cartoon where two people are standing beside an outdoor nativity. One says to the other, “And he was born in a stable, ‘cuz there was no room for him in the church….” Have we in the church become so cluttered with programming and good intentions that we no longer have time or energy to accept such a noble task? Christmas gives us the opportunity to examine our cluttered, programmed lives to see how we can accept this calling from God. The challenge is – are we open to Jesus coming into life in a personal way?
I admire Mary. She said YES to God. She didn’t worry about the engagement plans, her social standing, her longtime security. She didn’t worry about the cost to her happiness. She opened herself up to God in a new and mysterious way. We’re called this Christmas season to allow Christ to be born in us once more. If we say YES to God’s Child, we say YES to hope, peace love. Say YES to the Christ born among us! Say YES to glorious new life in Christ! Christ has come again. How do we respond? With all our hearts and souls, may we say, “Here am I, the servant of God; let it be with me according to your word!” Glory to God, Christ is here among us in a new way!