Thursday, December 24, 2015
“So the Master is going to give you a sign anyway. Watch for this: A girl who is presently a virgin will get pregnant. She’ll bear a son and name him Immanuel.” (God-With-Us). Isaiah 7:14 (MSG)
Christmas Eve is a complex day to encapsulate. It is a day full of anticipation and conceivably, it is a time of great pain for those women whom might find themselves like Mary in the labor of bringing new life into this world.
The scriptures make birthing sound so easy and the truth is that the pains of labor are just that, pains. I was blessed to be present through the birth of Sofia. I watched Christina go from comfortable to screeching pain. At the end of it all, a child of light. I stood in awe at the strength of women. Mary was seen with favor to suffer the pangs of birth, and bring salvation into this world.
Following the Guadalupe Service that night, a Facebook posting on my page railed at the attentive act of our church’s decision to shine her image on the bell tower. This individual further more reminded me of the Protestant stance on Idolatry. (I felt darkness and pain coming right through that social media post. I was angered and saddened.) After some thinking, honoring Mary for her courage and role in the salvation of humanity is not idolatry for me let alone a sinful act of gratitude coming from an entire cultural group. This poor FB post was yet another reminder as to why Christ came into this world. The birth of Christ reminds us of the humility ironically idolized in the very manger.
I confess that I am guilty of idolizing women. My empirical understanding is that women are at the top of this creation cycle. They harbor and nurture life until it is ready to come into this jarring, cruel, dark under-bellied existence juxtaposed by the resilient, mesmerizing, and magnificent world that often finds its pendulum swinging into the darkness as evidenced by the recent terrorist acts in the United States and Europe.
The prophet Isaiah says, So the Master is going to give you a sign anyway. He writes, in 9:6 (paraphrased), that this child will be born to challenge the workings of this earths government. Burdened shall he be to bring enlightenment to this government. This child called Immanuel is to bring peace to this conflicted world.
Thank you Mary for saying yes to the Angel and the Holy Spirit. She was truly a believer of the Christmas we celebrate today. The day when a baby born into the messiest environment, symbolized by the manger and animals with all their filth, was to cry out at birth and pierce the darkness echoed by the prophet Isaiah with a cry of peace, hope, joy, and love!
Creator, Father, Mother, Yahweh, Jehovah, Jesus, and Holy Spirit, restore in us that desire to find hope, joy, and peace, and love in our hearts and lives. Like the innocent pure vessel Mary, reminds us of the willingness that is required to act in faith and action. May we say yes to the Christ journey in our lives that requires courageous and gentle actions to reflect our faith in a God of hope, joy, love, and peace. Amen
If you would like to receive the Cathedral of Hope Devotion we would love to be able to send it to you directly. Sign up today to receive your own copy.