Thursday, December 11, 2008

"offspring of the virgin's womb"

"'how will this be,' mary asked the angel, 'since i am a virgin?'

"the angel answered, 'the Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. so the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. even elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. for no word from God will ever fail.'

"'i am the Lord's servant,' mary answered. 'may it be to me according to your word.' then the angel left her."
(luke 1.34-38 tniv)

even though i try not to get too stressed out for the holidays, i definitely have to factor in the additional responsibilities of planning, shopping, baking, decorating, wrapping, and partying into my already fairly full schedule of cooking, cleaning, referreeing, showering, putting toys away, folding clothes, making beds, etc., etc. this means that each morning i set an agenda of what i need to accomplish that day. unfortunately, i haven't stuck to the agenda for december 1-10 so things aren't looking too good right now for getting everything done on time.

i try not to take out my frustration on the kids but since they are generally the ones getting in the way of total focus and concentration on the task at hand, they occasionally hear my not-so-sweet mommy voice. i find it hard to be pleasant when someone gets in the way of my own plans or agenda for the day.

imagine how mary felt after gabriel's visit. think about what this news would do to your plans. an unplanned, superhuman pregnancy is not exactly on the top of the list of things to do in most wedding planners. before the angel came, she may have been thinking about what she wanted to talk to joseph about the next day: lilies of the valley, or roses for the bouquet? candles or oil lamps? and she mustn't forget to make sure he had gone to get measured for his suit. suddenly her agenda was completely turned on its head. now she has to explain to joseph that someone unexpected will be joining them in nine months.

somehow mary, in the midst of what must have been shock and incomprehension, manages graciously to accept the angel's words. later, she tells elizabeth what a privilege and honor she has been given. i want to have that kind of attitude.

"may it be to me as you have said." nothing is impossible for God, and God can work out the details. things may not go the way you thought they would. God may not follow your agenda. i'm sure mary didn't expect to have to make the long trek to bethlehem or give birth in a stable. i want to have the graciousness of mary to accept what God sets before me with faithfulness and trust. this is the quality that i want to develop during this advent season. "may it be to me as you have said."

"and mary said:
'my soul glorifies the Lord

and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,

for he has been mindful
of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,

for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
holy is his name.

his mercy extends to those who fear him,
from generation to generation.

he has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.

he has brought down rulers from their thrones
but has lifted up the humble.

he has filled the hungry with good things
but has sent the rich away empty.

he has helped his servant israel,
remembering to be merciful

to Abraham and his descendants forever,
just as he promised our ancestors.'"
(luke 1.47-55 tniv)

for the kids: talk about what it is like when things don't go their way. how do they react? do they throw a tantrum or change plans easily? talk about what mary may have felt when gabriel told her she was about to have a baby that would be God's own Son. for a project, use a round wooden clothespin or peg to make a mary figurine. use some scrap fabric for a dress and head covering.

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