This Advent reflection was written in response to Luke 1:26-38
The angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary. And coming to her, he said, “Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.” But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.
Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his Kingdom there will be no end.”
But Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?” And the angel said to her in reply, “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 called holy, the Son of God.
And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren; for nothing will be impossible for God.”
Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.
For seven consecutive years I directed a children’s Christmas Pageant at the Presidio Sunday School. Hands down, this was my very favorite annual activity to lead those children through. Each year as I listened to them recite the ancient Scriptures and re-tell the story that changed everything, all of my exhaustion and tension would fade away and I was again filled with the wonder and awe that goes along with fully grasping that Heaven deemed Earth worthy of a Savior.
The infectious innocence of young children always served to help me block out the rude driver who had cut me off, the impatient people in line behind me, and the rising stress I felt as the to-do list endlessly grew. My memories include the sweet 4-year-old angel who wore pink cowboy boots under her white pillowcase, the innkeepers who would shout “no vacancy” as the tiny Mary and Joseph made their way down the center aisle, and the pack of shepherds who would tumble over each other as they climbed the steps.
Today when I read the words of that innocent girl who was chosen by God, who modeled willingness, trust and obedience for a world who would be changed because of her yes, I cannot help but think about those precious kids who were in my care for a season and who traced the Christmas story with me each year. One sweet girl playing Mary struggled to say I am the Lord’s Maid and instead repeatedly said I am the Lord’s Mayor, ready to serve. Maid or Mayor – they probably mean and sound the same to a six-year-old. When I read about the real Mary’s utter and complete surrender to God’s plan I recall the Scripture that encourages me to keep my childlike faith. Whether He calls me to be His maid or His mayor, I hope my answer will come as quickly and naturally as it did for Mary. In Sunday school we usually used the Message Bible to make things easier for the children to grasp. In that translation, Mary ends her conversation with the Angel by saying Let it be with me just as you say.
During Advent, I yearn to connect with that innocence and easy surrender. My soul pulls me toward offering Yes! and I can almost taste the freedom that will follow.
December 12, 2011 2 Comments