Today we celebrate and reflect on the amazing story of Mary, the Mother of Jesus. One the delights that Advent brings is the opportunity to reflect on the part played by those involved in the narrative surrounding Jesus’ birth: Elizabeth, Zechariah, Joseph – the forgotten man of the gospels – and of course Mary.
In many ways we are all called on to learn and mimic these characters for they are not just biblical characters placed there by the gospel writers, and Luke in particular, to pad out the story, no, they are presented to us, given to us, as living icons.
From Elizabeth and Zechariah we learn the importance of righteousness; Godly living. From John the Baptist we learn that our role is to clear the path for Jesus and, of the centrality of repentance in the life of faith. Joseph has an awful lot to teach us about honour, dignity, fidelity and human kindness. He also has a lot to teach us men about women and their equal status in God’s kingdom. Can you imagine the ridicule that Joseph was probably subjected to by the religious elite of his day, simply for his support of his errant wife? And, what of Mary? What can we learn from her?
Trust, humility, fidelity, constancy and, perhaps above all else, the importance of saying yes to God.
Can you alongside Mary say: ‘here I am the servant of the Lord, let it be with me according to your word?’
If we can, if like Mary we are open to the possibility that however nuts it might seem, we too might be God’s chosen vessel to be bearers of the good news of Jesus Christ, who knows what might happen? Well, God knows.
So in all the busyness of today can I simply encourage you to spend just a few minutes reflecting on the person of Mary, giving thanks for her life and witness and perhaps simply praying her words:
‘Here I am the servant of the Lord, let it be with me according to your word?’