Monday, December 5, 2016

Advent 2016



            Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, "If the stars should appear one night in a thousand years, how would men believe and adore; and preserve for many generations the remembrance of the city of God which had been shown!  But every night come out these envoys of beauty, and light the universe with their admonishing smile."

            I would imagine Joseph was following the North Star on his journey to Bethlehem.  I cannot even begin to fathom the beauty that existed in the night sky, unfiltered by city lights and air pollution that mask the grand astronomical showing we experience today.

            I would imagine Mary was tired, and her feet and ankles were swollen.  There's also a good chance she couldn't see them anyway.  Her steps were heavy and her breathing labored.  If she was in the last trimester, chances are her unborn child was settling more and more into her pelvis, slowly pushing her hips further apart.  Mary's body temperature was most likely elevated, and she probably found respite in the cooler night air.  I am sure she was petrified, as are most women who stare the birthing process in the face, unknowing yet the breadth of pain she was about to endure.  And on top of all of this, she now had to walk 70 miles, simply to be counted - mostly for taxation purposes.

            As Joseph's steps were marked by the light in the sky pointing north, Mary's pregnant body was led by the will of her unborn child.  She was not in control of time or when the light within her would be revealed to the world.  

            This light within Mary, much like Emerson perceived with the stars, was believed and adored.  Generations preserved the remembrance of this infant - the God incarnate.  But how stale has our vision of Jesus become?  Have we become so used to his presence in our world that we cease to find the wonder anymore?

            Let us remember this Advent season that it is worthy and necessary to stop for a moment and marvel at the Creator of all that is.   Look up at the stars and feel their existence.  Remember that we, too, like Mary, are carrying the light of the Christ child, and that we, too, have the strength and the power to reveal that light to the world.  Remember, like Mary, carrying this story within us often feels too big a burden to bear and too impossible to live into.  Mary made that journey step by step, much like our journey with Christ must be step by step.

            The birthing process is messy; it is raw, emotional, and exquisite, but through it, a light was born.  Perhaps we can take note of Christ's entrance into the world and emulate it through our relationships, conversations, and the way we interact with others by being brave enough to enter people's lives exquisitely with intentionality, realness, and love - just as he entered into ours.


-- Nicki Brewer



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