December 24th: Mary, Center Stage

Neuschul, Ernst; Negermutter; Leicester Arts and Museums Service; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/negermutter-81312

On this Christmas Eve, much different than years before, Mary is taking up much of my heart-space.

Normally I’d be busy with service preparation and sermon writing, this being my first Christmas out of a typical pulpit.

But now I’m prepping for a quiet Christmas, which still requires quite a bit of intention, but in a more meditative and introspective way.

How are you preparing, Beloved?

I mean, if Mary miraculously carried the Christ child, it stands to reason (by that logic) that we all might be pregnant with the Divine. Or, already are…

How will the Divine be birthed in our lives this year?

Advent is the time when we ask this question again. It takes four weeks to answer…sometimes longer.

Mary’s song sung in Luke’s Gospel where she talks of “the mighty being cast down from their thrones” and the “humble of heart” being exalted gives us a clue, I think, to what it means to have the Divine birthed into our world.

How will you participate, Beloved, in lifting up the humble and humbling those at the top? How will you, as Mary will, cry out in the streets for the sons and daughters killed in violence, fueled too often by politics? How will you, as Mary will find herself, be at the table of the unwanted more often than the table of prestige?

Because we love romance we’ve idealized Mary’s story of this miraculous birth in some lowly stable, but in fact she birthed a revolution and the church has forgotten that powerful story and put in its place a impotent story that coddles the powerful.

It’s just true, Beloved. I wish it weren’t, either. Religion has lost the lede.

As you prepare to birth Christ, birth the revolution, this year, throw on Tracy Chapman’s “Talkin’ Bout a Revolution” as you do. It is a modern retelling of Mary’s song, if I’ve ever heard one, and speaks loud and clear (at least to me) what it means to birth Christ in this world, now.

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