And blessed is she who believed… (Luke 1:39-55) Bottom line is Mary had a baby. Not that she had much choice, unlike today where we have so many choices. What is most important was that Mary believed what was about to happen through her was indeed a blessing. After what I thought was a difficult first year in college, I considered dropping out. When I shared this with a friend I have never forgotten what he told me. He said; “Whenever you make a decision you have to stand by it, whether it turns out to be good, bad, right or wrong. Accept the decision you make because it’s your decision.” His point was that I needed to believe that my decisions mattered. Whether I chose to leave or stay, something ultimately was going to be required of me. If I stay, I needed to believe that I could make it. If I left then I believed I couldn’t make it. It was the first step in understanding what it means to accept where I was, put on my big girl undies and believe in my ability to see it through. Immediately (stealing a phrase from Mark’s gospel), I got to work one class at a time. This of course hardly compares to the difficult situation of a virgin named Mary being told that she would conceive the Savior of the world. However, what connects each of us to Mary and to one another is who we are as servants of the most high and the plethora of emotions we all experience when we find ourselves in what seems like an impossible or overwhelming situation. Second, we are connected by favor, which God has for all his servants, and like Mary ultimately in the face of difficult choices what ever they may be we have to believe that God’s plan is at work through us.
Although we celebrate the first Christmas today, I said from the beginning of this Advent season that we live in an Advent life of preparation, expectation and awareness of Christ return. While the culture of the day may not have left Mary much of a choice, when you think about it, as Christians today, neither do we. Merry Christmas today and every day hereafter!