Scripture Text: Luke 1: 39-45 (Advent 4C)
39In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, 40where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. 41When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit 42and exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. 43And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? 44For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy. 45And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.”
So, we have one more week. You know, in those days, it would have taken about that long to get from Galilee to Bethlehem, so, chances are, Mary and Joseph would have left…about now. It would have been a hard journey. They could only travel during the day and would have had to somehow find warmth and shelter in the cold desert wilderness at night. They wouldn’t have traveled alone. That would not have been smart. They could not have gone straight through Samaria because it was not a friendly country. So, they probably would have traveled along the Jordan River and then turned near Jericho just north of the Dead Sea and headed toward Jerusalem. The way would not have been easy, but, as they traveled, God made room for them, providing a pathway of light, probably fellow travelers, and a perseverance to get them to Bethlehem. And there, in the dim light of a stable, the glory of God would be revealed in the child that was born to Mary.
This story that we love so much is not only a story of God’s coming into the world. God would never have been able to come if somewhere along the way, someone had not made room in her life for God to come. So, we hear of a young girl who put her life’s plans aside and made room to participate in God’s work of salvation. And there with her, is her cousin Elizabeth and her husband Zechariah, who, putting their convenience and their reputation at risk, opened their home to make room for the young girl. That young girl was not just a vehicle for God’s work. She wasn’t some random person that God used. That young girl was a Light-Bearer. She made room for the Light of Life to come into the world.
So, this story is as much an invitation as it is something in which we believe. It is an invitation to us to open our eyes, open our hearts, and, yes, open our minds to the ways that God comes into our lives and the ways that God is calling us to participate in the changing of the world. See, we are all called to be Light-Bearers. We are called to bring the Light of God revealed through Jesus Christ into the world. Oh, you don’t have time? You’re not ready? You’re not trained? You’re afraid? Alright, focus…Mary was just a young girl. She was still maturing, still growing into who she would be. She was planning her wedding. And then this angel shows up and, well, you just won’t even believe what all happened. Mary had plans for her life. And yet here was this angel, a messenger of God, asking her to put all those plans aside and do this one little thing for the world. Mary was asked to birth the Light of God into the world. (No big deal, right?) She sat there stunned, the light probably draining from her face. The angel waited. The world waited. God waited. The Light hung suspended for a moment, waiting, with the darkness nipping at its heels. And then Mary responded, “Let it be…let it be according to God’s Word.”
So, in these days leading up to Christmas and beyond, when you answer the door or find yourself in conversation or are met by someone who asks you to rearrange your mind a bit, remember that you never know when you might come face to face with the sacred, with the Divine, with God. And our faith tells us that when that happens, it’s all about making room for God to do something new. It’s about becoming a Light-Bearer. The Light shines on you. It is getting brighter and brighter with each day’s journey. It is the same Light that God created so long ago. It is the same Light that brought the world to this place we read about today. It is the same Light that Mary birthed into the World. And it has been there ever since—shining into our lives, inviting us to bear the Light to the world. Let it be according to God’s Word.
When I first met him, I knew in a moment I would have to spend the next few days re-arranging my mind so there’d be room for him to stay. (Brian Andreas, “The Story People”)
Grace and Peace,