1st Scripture Reading: Isaiah 35:1-10 & Luke 1:47-55 (Magnificat)
“Mary, woman of the Promise..” I ask myself, what promise? And to who? God’s promise to humankind is what comes to me. God’s promise to be with us, to bring us joy and fulfillment. God’s promise to love us always faithfully. Emmanuel means “God with us” and it is this embodiment of God coming to us in the Christ child that we celebrate every year at Christmas.
The birth of a child through the womb, the body of Mary, a young woman still in her teens – the Divine presence came in to and was born through the physical body of one of us – a human being – a woman.
So yes, this was a physical birth for sure – but it was so much more – a spiritual awakening, a paradigm shift, an incarnation of cosmic proportions that continues to reverberate throughout the multiverse. The birth of Jesus of Nazareth has come to signify a huge leap in the evolution of human consciousness – a new level in our spiritual evolution. The Light has come into the darkness of our shuttered eyes – opening them to a new world of hope and peace, of joy and of love.
And so we sing of gratitude – gratitude to Mary and to all women who give birth and nurture children. We sing of sacrifice, dedication, nurturing, educating and protecting that all mothers are called to do. It is my belief that biblical culture did not then, and our own culture does not now sufficiently honour the reproductive power and responsibility of women.
AND – in those times (and still today) all masculine power and responsibility of fathers was given to a distant and unknowable “Father God”. Jesus’ human father in our scriptures is largely absent. In biblical times that male power as symbolized in an all-powerful Father God was assumed by a male-entitlement system known as “Patriarchy”. But the responsibility part – the nurturing, protecting, caring for part – that was assigned chiefly to now otherwise powerless females. This was and is an unfortunate dichotomy. It lets fathers off the hook in terms of protecting, respecting, and honouring women who are the mothers of their children. For fathers are also called to sacrifice for the well-being of their families. Men are called to honour and to celebrate the power and responsibility of women to give birth, and to protect women as the vessels of new life.
We are all called to recognize the presence of “God with us”. We are called to love one another. There is no human hierarchy in the eyes of God. I offer to you now a new vision of the Trinity: Mother, Father, Child. We are, every one of us, the Beloved of God, called to become the embodiment of that great Love.
Hymn #16 VU “Mary, Woman of the Promise”
2nd Scripture Reading: Matthew 11:2-11
What brings you Joy? Who are you grateful to for the joy in your life? How could you or I bring joy into another person’s life? I would now like to read you a story by Jane Harding in “Advent Reflections”(PMRC). It’s called “Joy to the World”.
Hymn #59 VU “Joy to the World”