Luke tells us in his Gospel that she is joyful and accepts this mission that God has given her. But honestly, woman to woman, can we imagine what kind of prayers Mary was silently praying? “God, help me explain this to Joseph, to our families…Guide me to peace of mind…Give me real advice on how this is all going to work.” And then, I do believe, that Mary finally looked to heaven and said to God, “I’m listening, I’m ready, let’s do this.”
Let the clouds rain down the Just One, and the earth bring forth a Savior. Isaiah 45:8
Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad;
Let the sea resound, and all that is in it.
Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them;
Let all the trees of the forest sing for joy.
Let all creation rejoice before the Lord, for he comes
The road to joy is often littered with disappointments.
We seek the joy of Christmas in our preparation rituals: hanging garlands, decorating cookies, wrapping presents to please. We also have felt our spirits fall when people don’t notice how “special” you made it, just for them. Even when they do notice, the moment passes so quickly. We have learned the dangers of hanging all our happiness on the reactions we get from the people we love.
This Advent I am watchful for the glory. It might come as a chorus of angels as I navigate a crowded shopping mall or supermarket. It may be a whispered reminder as I address Christmas cards.
God with us. Pure joy.
The moment may be just as fleeting, but the joy abides.
SMI Board of Directors
Reflection on a collage…
The topic was about “cultivating joy,” something I hadn’t considered. What would cultivating this wondrous gift be like? I felt I could make more progress starting with pictures that might lead me to words, and this was the resulting collage. What did I notice?
My eye was drawn to the mortar and pestle, so large and central to the assemblage. Then the dancers– Girl in soft pink costume or delicate tulle, satin shoes…seems pensive. The woman in sexy red dress, dramatic flair.. seems assertive. Then the paints and brushes overlapping with a journaling hand. Then the wine glasses—fruit of the vine and work of human hands… the liturgy says “Let it become for us spiritual drink.” Then the totem pole—symbol of spirit mystery in nature and in us. Then a group gathered… If we are ever to cultivate joy, we seldom do it alone.
The medley of images—Joy, a mix of body and spirit.
While they were there, the time came for her to have her child, and she gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
Wow! Two sentences in scripture tell of the birth of one small child who came to save the world. God’s greatest gift of love – his son, Jesus the Christ.
Two sentences. They leave a lot to the imagination. As I’ve contemplated the story, I see that my friend, Mary, also gave the greatest gift of love to the world that she could possibly have given. Her “yes,” her cooperation with God, her gift of life, were a testament to her faith and love for God.
Where does your imagination on those two sentences take you? As one of my pastors often says, “think about it.”
SMI Technology & Communications Chair
This poem from Meister Eckhart causes me to acknowledge some people in my life who have been a kind monk to me.
Love Does That
All day long a little burro labors, sometimes
with heavy loads on her back and sometimes just with worries
about things that bother only
And worries, as we know, can be more exhausting
than physical labor.
Once in a while a kind monk comes
to her stable and brings
a pear, but more
he looks into the burro’s eyes and touches her ears
and for a few seconds the burro is free
and even seems to laugh,
because love does
– Meister Eckhart
Spiritual Ministries Institute