Advent is a strange season in some ways -- a season of hopes and dreams, a season of promises fulfilled and of promises yet to be fulfilled, a season of the Reign of God that which is bursting forth and at the same time not yet fully here. And yet, wars rage and the world lay in such suffering and strife but our God is with us, even in the midst of all this tragedy.
Advent is counter cultural on so many levels. In a season when it seems the whole world begins to spin ever faster we are called to slow down, to spend time in prayer and reflection, to spend time thinking about the deeper realities of our lives and our relationships with family, friends and those around the world -- especially those who are in situations of suffering and loss.
Part of this season’s story is about a young girl living in a male dominated world where women were treated as property, but she breaks free from the bonds of obscurity and insignificance and becomes the heroine of the greatest story ever told. A young girl named Mary said “yes” to an impossible proposition; “yes” to what must have seemed totally absurd. Imagine yourself in Mary’s place: a heavenly visitor telling you that God, The Creator of all things…visible and invisible…was “asking” you to be the mother of the long awaited Messiah, the very Son of God!
The whole idea that God would choose to become human -- one like us -- and enter into our world as a vulnerable and innocent baby is almost too much to comprehend.
And yet she said “yes”. And, her yes changed the world forever! To this very day right now, her yes is still changing the world because the Risen Christ is in our midst! Because of her yes we can profess “we are the Body of Christ!”
What is God calling me to say yes to as a member of the Body of Christ? As I say yes to God, can I say yes to welcoming immigrants and refugees? Yes to supporting the women and girls who are assaulted and abused by the misogyny that is the very fabric of almost every culture in every country?
Can I say yes to refusing to participate in racism and bigotry in my words, actions and thoughts? Can I say yes to reaching out in love to even those who have hurt me or whom I have hurt?
Am I brave enough to risk it all like that young girl, from a dusty little backwater town, some two thousand years ago and say yes to God and to what God has in mind for me? Am I willing to risk, like Mary, and say “yes” to God, in the midst of the war, fear and suffering of this world, not knowing where it will lead me…just trusting that God will walk with me on the journey?
As we ponder these questions, as Christmas is upon us, let us pray for peace in the very land where this Christmas miracle of the incarnation unfolded; where today over twenty-three thousand people have been murdered in criminal acts of warfare, in barely twelve weeks time!
Let us write and call our political representatives and call the White House and demand bolder action be taken to end the bloodshed. Let us put our faith into action and demand justice for the innocent lives lost in this war and call for international intervention to save lives and end the bloodshed on all sides. This Christmas may the Prince of Peace bring peace to Palestine and Israel. Lord hear our prayer!