God asked a teenage girl to bear Christ into this world. She said yes. Why we should do the same.
Merry Christmas! I hope you are enjoying the full season of the Incarnation. I hope also that you found for one precious moment in this season your Bethlehem. Perhaps it was at the Christmas pageant here at church, or at the Christmas Eve Service; perhaps it was around the tree Christmas morning, or at Fifth Street serving meals to those who have nowhere else to go.
But one hard lesson we re-learn each year is that even as we should in our hearts and minds go to Bethlehem, it is difficult to tear ourselves away. We tend to forget that those wonderful meanings of the season are not apart from life but part of life, and thus we face the problem of great expectations—and great disappointments. As Peter Gomes puts it, “Christ is born, but wars persist, marriages continue to decay, the job is no better on the twenty-sixth of December than it was on the twenty-fourth. Joy, cheer, peace, and goodwill—these are guaranteed minimums for this season, and when we are denied them, things are worse than before.”
Nevertheless here we are, called to begin where we left off and yet to make a new beginning. We and the world face old choices and new chances. Our joy and our hope is that the gospel, the good news we seek and share, is a gospel of second chances, new opportunities to claim God’s love, new opportunities to share and express that love in the world, new opportunities to discover who we are and what we can become in Christ. The routine may already have called you back again; the Christmas ornaments may all be put away; still, by God’s grace we can be open to the new opportunities and surprises God has for us in the world.
In Peter Gomes’ words again, “The world will not change unless we change; the spirit of Christmas cannot be borne out into the cold January air unless we are borne out by it and indeed born again by it.”
Our call is to say “yes” to God’s purpose for us, to respond in faith—not in adequacy or ability or without fear—to those needs and calls God places before us.
God called a young woman, no more than a teenager, to bear God’s Son into the world. She said yes. Our job is to do the same. One of the mystics, Meister Eckhart, said, “We are all meant to be mothers of God. What good is it to me if this eternal birth of the divine Son takes place unceasingly but does not take place within myself? And, what good is it to me if Mary is full of grace if I am not also full of grace? What good is it to me for the Creator to give birth to his Son if I do not also give birth to him in my time and culture? This, then, is the fullness of time: When the Son of God is begotten in us.”
May the Son of God be born in all of us this year. ◊
This article originally appeared in the January 2015 edition of Trinity Topics. Read more here.