This morning, as I read the second Office Reading (see the link below), I almost fell into tears. What beautiful words! It made me ponder Mary, which lead to thoughts about giving birth to Christ. This gave new meaning to Advent.
In this reading, St. Bernard of Clairvaux writes about the annunciation when Gabriel tells Mary that she is to bear a son. While this is not what he says, he basically takes on the role of Gabriel. He is talking about that moment of time, which likely felt an eternity, between Gabriel’s words and Mary’s answer. He talks about how the whole world waited with bated breath for her response – “be it done unto me according to your word.” He talks about how Adam and his family in the “shadow of death” are tearful and begging her to say yes.
As I pondered this, I fell into the role of a pregnant Mary, about to give birth. I have always hesitated to take on the role of Mary in my meditations, but this morning, I found myself there.
No one at the time of Jesus understood what the Messiah was to be. The prophets didn’t give specifics. People had hopes for many different types of saviors; anointed ones. In the end, all they knew was promise of something new; they placed their hope in Yahweh, and trusted in him.
Now, we find this young lady who is about to deliver on this hope. She knows she has the king of Kings within her womb, the long awaited return of the Davidic kingship. Instead of a palace, she finds herself in a barn or cave that housed the animals. She goes into labor and brings the Messiah into the world. She delivers God’s hope into the world.
Jesus dwells within each Christian. He is aching for us to give birth to him, to bring hope to others. People are longing for this hope. They are waiting to be clothed in kindness. They are thirsting for words of salvation. They are imprisoned in sin and oppression, and looking for deliverance. We, the body of Christ, are the answer to all the hopelessness and pain in the world. We are Mary, and it is our job to give birth to the King of Kings.
Spend some time today pondering how you might give birth to the Messiah. Spend some time with your insecurities, your fears, your weaknesses. Spend some time remembering that God calls only the weak. Spend some time asking Jesus how you can deliver him to your neighbors. Make some resolutions for the new year about how you can play this forward.