45“Blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.”
In one of his potent and perceptive quips, Martin Luther said that the miracle of Christmas isn’t that God became flesh; it’s that Mary believed. Mary trusted a promise that she would give birth to a son through whom God would fill the world with grace and mercy.
We are still waiting on the fulfillment of that promise.
We are still waiting for swords to be beaten into plowshares, for that banquet that gathers all people to God’s table, for walls to come down and people to live in peace. We are still waiting for truth to be spoken and sung and heard. We are still waiting.
Advent is, after all, a season of waiting.
But we are not just waiting. The child in the womb leaps for joy. The mothers sing. They have confidence in the promise of God. They believe.
“Blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.”
The women are singing. And we are singing. We are welcoming one another in peace. We are sharing bread with those who hunger. We are speaking words of reconciliation and mercy. We are living with arms open. We are receiving the bread broken. We are listening to the words of Jesus. We are practicing – practicing the kindness, compassion and generosity that are in keeping with a world filled with grace and mercy.
We are practicing. Conflicted sometimes. Struggling often. Our frail humanity wrestling with the Spirit of God calling us to our noblest humanity, our Spirit-filled humanity, our image-of-God humanity, our love-your-neighbor-as-yourself humanity.
We are practicing. Practicing for that day when he who embodied perfect love is revealed as the source and goal and measure of all.
We are practicing. Practicing faith, hope and love. Practicing Joy.
For a promise has been spoken.