Good Morning Friends,
I hope your week is going well so far. Can you believe it is already December 13th? It feels like things are moving swiftly but hopefully you are keeping yourself grounded in grace and patience as stress is tempted to increase, store lines continue to get longer and traffic thicker.
What is important isn’t to rush through this time so that it remains just a blur, but to work to remain present to each person you come in contact with. It’s easy to want to push others aside to take care of our own needs and plans. The busyness of this season is just another invitation to learn how to work out what we need in relation to what others need as well. If we find ourselves tempted to put ourselves before others, notice, ask forgiveness where necessary and adjust. If the Christmas story is about anything it is about hope, love, and limitation (God limits himself to the form and matter of a little baby).
This Sunday we will gather to worship, to re-center, to listen and to have our imaginations once again sparked by the story of God in history. Last week Brad brought to our attention John the Baptist and his own necessity to "decrease" in preparation for Jesus’ arrival. This week we turn our attention to Mary, the baby’s mother:
“In the sixth mth the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” The angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.” Then Mary said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.” (Luke 1:26–38 NRSV)
- Can you imagine what it would have been like to be Mary? What surprises you about Mary’s situation?
- How does this text (and subtext?) prepare us when thinking about Jesus?
- What might our response be to such a surprising announcement/interruption as the one Mary received?
Read Luke 1:5-25 What differences and similarities do you see between these two "birth narratives?"
In Gospel Love,