Arriving and Hoping Day 6

Friday, Dec. 9:

AM Psalm 31; PM Psalm 35; Haggai 1:1-15;
Rev. 2:18-29; Matt. 23:27-39

Stephanie Gehring

In my mind you are a shape in a light blue cloak, a miniature from a Nativity
scene with a face too small for features. If I try harder, you are the wife of Joseph, a carpenter in Nazareth; you had many babies, worked hard, lived a simple  life without cars or bank accounts or glass in the windows. One more mother in a little backwoods town.

Except for the part about bearing the Son of God. They’re not sure how old you
were, or where it happened, or what time of day. Somewhere in your ordinary
adolescence, you stood slack-jawed before an archangel, hearing the unthinkable. Joseph almost left you, but his own angel came. Then there was the night in the stable in Bethlehem. And later the trip to Jerusalem when you lost your twelve-year-old and found him in the temple teaching the priests.

If not for your first-born son, I wouldn’t even know your name. You are so ordinary and so completely extraordinary, and Mary, one awful day in Palestine you watched your son die on a Roman cross. And suddenly I don’t want to imagine any more. Sometimes I’ve wanted Jesus to be mine, Mary, the way he was yours. I’ve missed the point completely—that he was never yours. He wasn’t yours because motherhood is not ownership. And he wasn’t yours because no matter what twist the story takes, no human can ever own God.

Your son, and not your son; God of the universe and a carpenter. You tried to
get through a crowd once claiming mother as a title. He sent you away, saying
his mother and brothers were those who followed him. You lost him because he
gave himself away to everyone, as though he were not yours at all.

I do not ever want to lose what you lost. And so I don’t want to put myself beside you, either, on the day when you first said Yes. It scares me to imagine. But we are here today to stand with you, to say Yes as you said yes, to admit into our
lives the living presence of the One whose gaze alone can destroy us. You did
not know where yes would lead, and neither do any of us—but we remember,
today, the frozen blindness of your grief, the terror and the glory of birth, the
dangerous miracle of raising the world from the dead, of Emmanuel, God-withus.

(Today’s exercise: Ask the Father to grant you grace today, the very same grace
he gave to Jesus, to say yes to the things that you know he is calling you to say
yes to. Ask the Spirit to stir in your heart a confirmation of what that might
be.)

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