04 December 2011

Waiting in peace

Today is the Peace candle, or Mary's candle.  I kind of want to focus on Mary, because its an amazing story.  Think about it.

 You're a girl, around 12, 13, 14, 15. Not very old. You're engaged to a man who may be ten, twenty, even thirty years older than you.  Suddenly, an angel appears, telling you that you will bear Messiah, who has been anticipated for centuries.
 "But, but how?" you stammer. "I'm a virgin." You're only engaged, not married, and here is someone telling you that you are going to have a baby.
And the angel answers you, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born  will be called holy— the Son of God. And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For nothing will be impossible with God." And you say, still in shock "Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word." And the angel leaves.
  Soon, you have to tell your parents that you are pregnant, but even worse, you have to tell Joseph, the man you are engaged to. You know it's not his baby. He knows. You both know what will happen if he presses charges. You will be stoned in the streets.  He chooses not to, but the pain in every ones eyes seems far worse than a stoning could ever be. You go away to visit Elizabeth for a few months, to allow the scandal to pass some. When you come back, though, everyone can tell you're pregnant. And then one day Joseph comes. He tells you of a dream, of seeing an angel,  of knowing that you carry Messiah. That very day he takes you home. Months pass, and the time of the birth draws near. You hear of the census, and decide to accompany Joseph to Bethlehem, much to your mothers chagrin. While you are there, the baby decides to make an early appearance. Everything is different, and you have the baby not at home with a midwife, but in a barn with a nervous husband.  You know that this birth, this birth will change the world. And so you smile at your newborn son, and at your much relived husband.

Could you imagine?  Somehow, somehow, she accepted the dramatic change to the life she had planned. And a world was changed.

This Advent, remember that God's plans aren't always yours. But they are always good. I pray that you can find peace in whatever turns your life takes. I pray that as you wait upon God, you have peace, even if what you wait for takes time. Sometimes it's not about the end, but about how you get there. Peace, then for that journey.


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