And Mary said, "
Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word." Then the angel departed from her.
- Luke 1:38
[I received so much feedback about Mary yesterday that I thought we could use another dose of her today! This piece is from our old friend, Mike Piazza. He is a UCC pastor in Atlanta... formerly of Cathedral of UCC in Dallas. He is outspoken and often says what must be said.]
The REAL miracle of Christmas was that Mary didn't argue and didn't explain why she couldn't/wouldn't/shouldn't do what Gabriel came to tell her that God was asking her to do. The real miracle was that Mary simply said, "Yes!"
I wonder how many centuries God waited for a soul who would simply and unconditionally answer in the affirmative. No wonder fundamentalists think Jesus is coming back on a cloud. They figure God will never find another person foolish enough to just say, "Yes!"
You may think that if God sent an angel to you then you would say "yes," too. Maybe so, but, in my life, God already has asked me to be more generous, faithful, patient, and kind. If I don't say "yes" to those things, what would make heaven think I would make real sacrifices?
The truth is few of us ever really say "no" to God, yet here we are at the end of another year and we still haven't really made an effort to be the kind of people we know we ought to be. We never said "no"; we just never found the time to serve others, never found the devotion to change our lifestyles.
Once upon a time there was a baby who had a birthday party. Lots of adults and children came to the party. Everyone spent a lot of time and money buying and wrapping gifts. The decorations were amazing. Everyone had a great time on the day of the celebration. No one even noticed that every person got a gift except the One whose birthday it was.
So, what are you giving Jesus for Christmas? Mary knew the answer. "Yes!" she said. "Yes, you can have me. You can have all there is of me. Yes, take my life and impregnate me with your life. Use me to bear into this world of conflict and strife the way of peace and reconciliation."
In light of all that is going on around us in this country and the world, this may be more than just a preacher's question: Are you willing to say with Mary, "Yes! Let my very body bear the way of justice, mercy, and peace"? If not, I'm not sure what hope there is for peace on earth and good will for all because, if not you, then who?
Imagine that yes is the only living thing
. - ee cummings
Holy One, let my yes be yes and my no be no. Amen.