I love the annunciation scriptures because it depicts the shear grace with which Mary handles being approached by the angels of the Lord and finding out that as an unwed teenager she is pregnant. And she is not only pregnant but she is to bear the Christ child. No pressure. The average person, I feel does not have that type of maturity, confidence, and poise about themselves as teenagers. I myself was a mess as a teenager and completely emotional. I had not yet developed the ability to take life as it comes and I would venture to say that to some degree I still struggle with that.
Mary sings a song of praise to God for being the chosen mother of God. Now when I first found out I was pregnant at 35, a year ago, I was grateful but was overcome with the hormonal imbalance and trying desperately to make it through a day without vomiting. I did not have my wits about me as Mary did. My prayer was not as beautifully constructed but sounded more like this:
“Oh please God, no more nausea! Please help make it through Christmas Eve worship.”
But there is something truly inspiring about the joy and awe that comes forth in her song. We can see how her faith seemed to grow as the baby Christ grew inside her giving her confidence and self-assuredness even though her pregnancy left her with a very uncertain future. The annunciation and the child within her gave her the strength she needed to believe in the will of God even if Joseph chose not to continue forward with their impending marriage, even if her family decided to disown her, and even in the face of the uncertainty of possible death in the birthing process.
We hear this hymn of hers every Christmas season, because we are meant to feel her joy and to feel her confidence and to use that strength to build in us a confidence in God in the face of all that we face in our lives, no matter how uncertain our futures may be. The hope of Luke, in sharing this story, was more than just preserving history, it was what Ann Patchett shares in her writings, “Because of her singing they all went away feeling moved, feeling comforted, feeling, perhaps, the slightest tremors of faith”. This song of joy is meant to help birth in each one of us faith and confidence in the presence of God in our world.
We still live in a world that struggles with war, genocide, poverty, gun violence, fires, earthquakes, and illnesses. Life is still challenging for a great many of us. It would be easier to just give up. Yet this song is meant to inspire us to not lose hope in tomorrow. It inspires us to find the Godly in this world, to search for God’s message shining brightly all around us, and to allow for it to bring forth the life of faith in our hearts, in our lives, and in our interactions in this world.
From that hope, each of us gets to be responsible from bringing forth the life of a faith in Christ Jesus to a world that is in need of a message of hope. Meister Eckhardt, a 14th century theologian, understood this need in the middle ages, a time that desperately needed the hope and peace of the Christ Child, when he said, “We are all meant to be mothers of God”.
So this year, place aside all of the worries, stresses, and anxieties of this world whether they be from family and home or from the state of affairs in the world and feel the joy of the season, feel the hope inherent in Mary’s song, and allow the peace she felt to wash over you. Remember this season is not about what we get, what we have, who we are with, or even the decorations or snow or Christmas music. All of that is meant to reflect our joy.
This simple hymn, a song, a prayer to God, is all we need to truly experience the specialness of the season. That first Christmas, was no different then any other day that sees the birth of another generation. Mary felt the same joy, happiness, and expectation as any new parent does upon the birth of their child. Her pregnancy and the birth of her child though had greater implications for the world. So close your eyes and listen once more to Mary’s words and feel her gratitude, hope, joy, and love and know that it is the peace that comes from these emotions that is our gift in this crazy world. And remember to share that peace with loved ones and strangers alike for this is the most important gift we can give this holiday season. For when we do we are reflecting our growing faith in the presence of God.
“My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.
Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for the Mighty One has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
His mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
He has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
and lifted up the lowly;
he has filled the hungry with good things,
and sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
according to the promise he made to our ancestors,
to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”
Go forth full of the love of Christ and may it bring you peace in this holiday season. May your serenity bring forth a shared harmony with human kind that will bring new depths to your faith and the faith of humankind in the loving care of God.
 Ann Patchett, 21st century author.
 Meister Eckhardt, 14th century theologian.
 Luke 1: 46b-55, NRSV.
(Based on Luke 1: 46b-55)