“…who was conceived of the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary…”
We say those words every Sunday. We stand and we look at the cross and we say with all our heart that we believe these words to be true. Now, the “conceived” part we get–conceived, thought up, breathed into–Jesus was God’s way after eons of breathing Creation into being of finally breathing the very Godself into the world. The Divine has come to walk with us. But this Virgin Mary thing? What is that? Jesus, born, born as a human, born as a baby. As unromantic and “un-Nativity-like” as it may be, Jesus was fussy and colicy. The Son of God, in all likelihood, messed up his first-century diaper. (I’ve never been accused of being overly-reverent!) Mary and Joseph were probably sleep-deprived. And as time went on, Jesus, like all of us, had to learn to walk and talk and be. He had to grow into who he was. But when’s the last time you held a newborn baby? When’s the last time you held a baby that was only hours old? It’s just like holding the entire hope of the world in your arms. There are no preconceptions; there are no agendas; there is no one to impress or keep from disappointing. There is only a pure and undefiled openness to what comes next, to what God holds. There is only hope. You can smell it. Maybe it’s the smell of birth. But maybe it’s the smell of the Divine.
So does it really matter? We get so wrapped up in whether or not Mary’s virginity was literally intact when Jesus was born. Again, does it really matter? Does it really matter when you are holding the hope of the world? Does it really matter when you are holding the world’s salvation in your arms? Think about it. Jesus was born, Son of God and Son of Humanity. Jesus was born to Mary, the mother of the Salvation of the World. Perhaps the translators of the writing by the writer known as Matthew had it right and Mary was a virgin in every sense of the word–pure, undefiled, and open to receive. But, more importantly, Mary was a virgin in the spiritual sense of the word–pure, undefiled, and open to receive what comes next, open to receive whatever God held for her life. Mary opened her heart and her life that she might birth God into this world.
In this season of Advent, we are called to do the same. 14th century theologian, Meister Eckhart said that “we are all meant to be mothers of God, for God is always needing to be born.” We are all called to be virgin–pure, undefiled, and open to receive. We are all called to birth God into this world. How open are you to what comes next? How open are you to what God holds for your life? This is the open season. This is the season when we shed all the preconceptions of what we think God is. This is the season when we let go of our need to explain God’s coming into the world and be open to what comes next. So does it really matter? You bet it does. It is the Hope of the World that depends on it.
In this season of Advent, give yourself the gift of being open to whatever it is God holds for you and birthing God into your life. Be virgin. Be a womb for the hope of the world.
Grace and Peace,