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Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Lynn Walters
Brite Divinity Student

“While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.” Luke 2.6,7

A Word of Hope
Mary knows the time is coming. Alternating between walking and riding, hoping they get to the relatives' house soon so she can be cared for by the women. Instead stuck in the only traffic jam she's probably experienced. "Joseph, can't you go around the camel herders?" "Why does your family have to live on the other side of Bethlehem?" "What do you mean they don't have room for us?"

Despite the rough accommodations, no doubt the women of the family gathered around Mary in the stable to help her through the birth of her first child. They brought blankets and pillows, water skins, unleavened bread, cloth, a caldron to boil water in, and prepared for a long night. The elder women took turns telling stories. Joseph's mother told about his birth. Others joined in with their own stories and other family stories. "Do you remember when Ruth decided she had to visit Elizabeth and barely made it back in time for us to catch the baby?" "What about the time Rebecca thought she was having labor pains and we all came over and realized hours later that she wasn't!"

The stories anchored them to each other, to their past and to an unknown but hopeful future. While the idea of a Messiah had been around for a while, it seems unlikely that the women that night thought that Mary's baby could be the one. After all, Mary and Joseph were so ordinary. Though, perhaps in their story telling, they remembered the stories of many ordinary people who had done extraordinary things for God. Moses was a shepherd when God called him. Joseph's brothers sold him into slavery. David made many mistakes. Rahab was a business woman who took a risk on the unknown Hebrew spies. No doubt God could do miraculous things through ordinary people.

On this last night of waiting for the Christ child to be born, what is it that God is calling you to do? What has gestated in and through you this Advent (and this year) that is being birthed this season?

Mother God: Be with us as we birth those things within us that will help to bring about Your Beloved Community. Amen.

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