Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Day After Christmas

Abbaye de Senanque April 2012
Living as I do in a predominately Catholic country surrounded by thousands of beautiful old churches, I run into Mary, Mother of Jesus, a lot. For a Protestant girl, I've become quite attached to her. So it's inevitable that she's on my thoughts this day after Christmas...the day of the big let-down. You know the feeling...all the excitement is over and now reality hits with masses of trash to throw out, too much left-over food to fit in the fridge and the expectation of credit card bills to come.

Think of Mary this day.  The miraculous birth has occurred, the shepherds have come and gone, and no one even knows that the Wise Men bearing precious gifts are on their way. They won't arrive for 12 days. Mary rests in the cold, dank stable, exhausted, her body stretched and sore, her hormones shifting and her emotions roller-coastering between great joy and utter despair. The 'yes' she said to Gabriel nine months ago seems very far away. It was an easier 'yes' than the one she must convince herself to say today. That 'yes' was pledged in the splendid presence of God's angel and wrapped in God's mystery. It was a 'yes' of dreams and hopes; the 'yes' of a young girl full of glorious faith and steeped in the romance of being betrothed. Today the reality is a squalling hungry baby. A baby who must be kept clean and dry and warm. A baby who won't let her rest. Joseph is gone...perhaps banging on the door of the inn trying to buy food for his family. Surely, he had to stand in line most of the day waiting to register his family for the mandatory census which was why they are even in Bethlehem in the first place. So, Mary waits alone, fearful, and uncomfortable. Can she say 'yes' to this even harder question? Can she, a young girl, alone except for Joseph, find the strength and the wisdom to care for and raise this very special child? We know the answer, of course. She fiercely said 'yes' once again. I think she did a pretty good job of being the Mother of Jesus. She deserves every statue erected in her honor!

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