Advent Through the Eyes of Mary

It is Christmas Eve and you are anxiously awaiting the coming morning. Your stockings are hung along the fire place, filled with goodies for those you love. Your cookies are baked, gifts neatly wrapped and your manger scene is set up in the living room. Your Christmas tree is shining by the window with the ornaments filling each branch. Some are of angels and others are beautiful globes of red and green. The most radiant piece shines at the top. The star, the reminder that above all else, tonight marks the dawn of new life through a small baby boy. You close your eyes but you don’t fall asleep. You are brimming with excitement. The excitement of a child before Christmas, of a mother preparing for her children, of a friend who will share Christmas dinner with her companions. Excitement, Waiting, Joy, Bliss.

Now take all of this away. Take away the bright lights of Christmas and the excitement of family and friends. You are lying in a small room. It is dark and you are tired from a long day. You have just cooked dinner and cleaned up afterwards. You are happy to lay down and rest both your mind and body. Tomorrow will be another day. Like any other day. As you close your eyes there is suddenly a bright light that consumes your room. Immediately you open your eyes and see a glorious angel standing in the middle of your room! You are consumed by fear; you don’t understand what is going on. The angel speaks. “Greeting, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you!” Still frightened and confused the angel continues. “Do not be afraid, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.” What will your response be to this? The angel is telling you that you will bring into this world a child who will be called the “Son of the Most High” and that His “kingdom will never end.” How can this be? What will you say? Will you say yes and trust this angel, in your room, on an ordinary night or will you stay safe and ignore this beckon.

As we all know Mary said yes. She made that leap of faith with very little tangible evidence for her to safety in. Maybe this is why we look so much toward Mary during this Christmas season. We ask her to help us surrender our hands into the hands of an angel and say Yes God, bring Jesus into my life. For us it’s a little different. We are blessed. We have something to empower us when saying Yes. We have Jesus.

An excerpt from the book “The Ragamuffin Gospel” says that Trust is like climbing a fifty-foot ladder, reaching the top, and hearing someone down below yell “Jump.” The trusting disciple has this child like confidence in their loving Father. Trust says, in effect, “Abba, just on the basis of what you have shown me in your son, Jesus, I believe you love me. You have forgiven me, You will hold me and never let me go. Therefore, I trust you with my life.”

Mary made that jump without seeing the bottom. We, too, are asked to jump but different than Mary, we know what is waiting for us. And what a joy that is.

Take a deep breath and journey back to Christmas Eve as we lay in our beds. We have finally drifted off to sleep and are waking to find Christmas morning here! We are joyful and run down the stairs. Awaiting us however is no longer our presents or the tree or the cookies or the stockings. Instead is a man. We immediately recognize him to be Christ. He is smiling and invites us to come sit with him. He invites us to share in the love that he so freely poured out for us. He is the greatest gift that we could have ever hoped to find.

Christmas is this reminder. It is a reminder that God gave us the most unfathomable gift he could ever give. His son. When we say yes during this advent season, allowing God in our lives through prayer and thanksgiving, we are leaping into the open arms of God’s loving Son. Mary didn’t know what was on the other side but through her trust in God, we are here, as Christians, today.

Thank you Mary for making that leap of faith. Help us to open our hearts this season and say Yes to allow Christ into our lives. Help us to deepen our hearts this advent so that we may wake up this Christmas experiencing the joy of celebrating the most beautiful gift of all: the gift of Jesus, our Lord and salvation, the hope of all nations.