Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Mary's Hope Luke 1:39-55

At Christmas our culture loves to tell stories. It's almost a time of collective reminisence--and also dreaming of the families and culture that we always we wish we were part of but really aren't. The gift the church brings at Christmas is the one story that brings hope. It's a story that starts with Mary. Mary was part of a much bigger story. She was never the central character--but she was always a part of the greatest story ever told: the story of our redemption.
The story started long ago--no human really knows when because no human was alive in that moment when God created the cosmos. God took great pleasure and joy in his creation (Genesis 1). And by faith we know God still values what he made--but it's somehow different. Those who populate the world today, while made in God's own image, have been broken away from God. If it wasn't so there would be no need for a savior and the hope he brings. If it wasn't so there would be no deep longing to belong to something significant.
The a vague sense that something's wrong is punctuated by acts of evil and injustice. People of faith see sin, death, and evil as everyday evidence that we need a savior (John 1:1-5, 14-15).
So where do we find hope? We find hope in the story of Christ's coming for us. If you are blessed to read Mary's story you drink in the details of God stepping into our lives (Luke 1:26-56).
Jesus, the very God who made heaven and earth, grew in the body of a young woman. A scandal grew as he grew. She wasn't married. The risk intesified for both child and mother. Her husband to be might abandon her or worse (Matthew 1:17-18). The particulars in this part of Jesus' story call to us from the deepest part human history and human longing. The tough parts of our lives hurt and hope; pain and promise are right there A young pregnant woman insists that God is somehow part of the story. Her husband to be prepares to leave her. And the woman open to the will of God gives life--and the will of God a chance.
It's easy to make Mary into a bigger than life sized human being. But the scandal of her pregnancy and openness to God's work have their greatest impact when we realize how surprising and wonderfully normal she was. So what set Mary apart?Could it be something as simple as cooperating with God's plan of salvation.
As you consider Mary's story look around you. How is God at work in the middle of ordinary life to bring eternal hope in the promise of salvation. May God bless us this Christmas with a clear vision of His coming. Pax, John

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