This year I am writing a reflection for each Sunday of Advent. After I read them in church, I’m posting them here.
Her life has been long, and full, and difficult. To be chosen by God to bear the saviour of the nations is to be shaken, tossed, filled to overflowing and wrung out into nothing, over and over again.
She misses her son, and her husband.
She waits, stuck in ordinary time, each minute moving slowly. She has seen bits and pieces of the story from God’s time – the angel’s visit, her son’s miracles and transformations, the way everything she knew and understood about life and death, God and humans, sin and redemption turned upside down and rewritten.
Mostly, she sees the story in human time, slow and confusing and full of mistakes.
It should be time to sweep everything away and bring in the new kingdom that her son started. It’s been years since he left, and he said he would return soon. His birthday is coming up, and she always feels the pull of his message more strongly at this time of year. Love, he said. Love is the foundation of all things. Is love the foundation of waiting? Where is love in this painful wait, filled with the desire to be made whole?
There are shining, glorious moments when she feels to her core the truth that she is blessed, she was the vehicle through whom the Lord burst into creation and rewrote life, death, and time forever. She is reinvigorated to continue waiting for the fruition of her son’s work across the world. She feels once more the transcendent peace that allowed her to hear herself say “let it be with me according to your word” during the angel’s timeless visit.
There are other moments when the pain of loss and loneliness overwhelm her and she weeps. The waiting is interminable at those times.
Lord, she cries, the days are dark and long. Please, please tell me why I am waiting. Please give me the courage to wait one more day. Please give me the strength to wait for your return.
Mary walks out to share her son’s message of love yet one more time.