Scripture: Luke 2:15-19
Memories are precious to me this Advent season more so than ever. I can’t go back to Illinois to be with my three children. I can’t go to Washington State to see my other daughter. I can only see my littlest grandkids over Facetime (and they tend to view Facetime as improv theater where showing me their feet or their tonsils is the height of hilarity – to them). Well, this COVID world is what it is and it’s not forever, and so, in the meantime, I turn to memories . . .
-going to cut down our Christmas tree and the hours of walking and looking to find and decide on the PERFECT ONE!
-dividing up the candy in our two youngest kids’ stockings exactly equally, even to the various colors of M&Ms!
-taking pictures of our twins every year in front of my mom and dad’s fireplace, the bricks nicely measuring their growth.
But my favorite memory is from the Christmas Eve service, all of us holding lit candles, standing in a circle, singing “Silent Night.” The moment the candles were lit, I would forget everything about getting ready for Christmas that was not so pleasant to remember: stressed-out shopping, staying up so late wrapping presents, money worries, the kids’ gift requests (i.e. demands) and so on.
So all this remembering as to how I so easily forget the more unpleasant stuff got me thinking back to the first Christmas. Do I forget something there too? Is my focus too narrow? What am I missing?
Usually I focus on the beautiful parts of Christmas: the angels, the quaint stable, the smell of new hay in the manger, the tender care of Joseph over his family, the good mothering of Mary – and, of course, the baby Jesus.
But today I am realizing that the reality of all of the Christmas story is more a record of disruption:
-an engaged pregnant teenager, but the father is not her fiance
-surely unbelief . . . scandal . . . talk . . . outrage . . .maybe even danger
-a stay with her cousin until things calm down
-then another leaving - to Bethlehem, with the town perhaps breathing a collective sigh of relief to have them gone
-the birth in a cold, dirty, smelly barn
-danger again and escape to Egypt and life as a refugee
I have to remind myself that when Mary said to Gabriel, “I’m the Lord’s maid, ready to serve. Let it be with me just as you say.”, she had no idea what she was opening herself up to.
So as I come into this Advent season, and seek to open myself up to the coming of the Christ Child, the question on my mind is “What am I opening myself up to?” I could keep it safe, and Christmas eve and the candlelight will still be there for me . . . OR . . . I could open myself to the possibility of allowing God’s HOLY DISRUPTION into my life, opening myself to whatever He chooses to bring and loosing control in the process.
But why? Why should I do this? Why go farther? Why not keep everything the same?
Because I know that without allowing God’s Holy Disruption into my life, I will NEVER be able to sing the Magnificat with Mary and join with her in the exultation:
“My soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God, my Savior. . . . He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name.” (Luke 1: 46-47, 49)
Mary sure didn’t know what lay ahead: the scandal, the stable, the shepherds and wise men, the flight into Egypt, and her son’s death by torture. But even so, she opened herself up to God’s Holy Disruption into her life – a Disruption that forever changed the world.
Lord, give me the strength to open myself daily to your Holy Disruption, to say to you, “Here am I, Lord, ready for what you bring, no matter what you bring.” Amen. So be it.
-- Lyn Fitz