Every time I think I’ve got everything figured out…like every time I settle in, as if at some point I was taught that life was supposed to feel like a lazy-boy easy chair…something makes me squirm. Or bolt upright. Or leave my lazy-boy altogether.
Maybe you know what I’m talking about.
You’re cruising along…and even if everything isn’t perfect…you at least know how it works. And then a parent falls ill. Your dog dies. You find a lump. A spouse is fired. Someone’s child lies dead in the street from a gunshot wound. A grown man is strangled to death. Families are torn apart by boarder wars. And drug wars. And war wars. And it moves us.
And I don’t know about you…but it feels a little like these squirmy, bolt-y things are more prevalent around Advent? Doesn’t it seem like, in the dead of winter, when we’re supposed to be singing Frosty the Snowman and finding shiny baubles for loved ones…that’s when the squirming seems most relentless? And unbearable?
And then we come to church and speak of joy and light candles and Mary goes…and sings this song. The magnificat.
“I’m bursting with God-news; I’m dancing the song of my Savior God.”
This isn’t just good news. Good news could be anything: you found a $5 dollar bill in your pocket when you were doing laundry…or your plate didn’t break when it dropped…that’s good news. But this….this is GOD NEWS!!
In the midst of everything….everything that was going on…angels and teenage pregnancy and “Oh my God, how do I tell Joseph” and “Forget Joseph…but what about my parents. They are gonna FREAK out.” and “What the heck is going on with Elizabeth…she’s like, a bazillion years old.” In the midst of all that….Mary proclaims this GOD-NEWS!
My guess is, she’s thinking: this miracle is so great, and I am going to be in so much trouble if this doesn’t come to be… that it had better be of God.
“God took one good look at me, and look what happened — I am the most fortunate woman on earth!”
And we are left bewildered. Maybe a little angry that we’ve never felt that way. Embarrassed when we have. Maybe sad, because we wish we felt that way. Or maybe we question the validity of the whole darn thing…and that’s okay; it’s okay to wonder about your faith. Maybe even especially, when it’s hard to see God in ways that make sense.
So why do we let Mary sing to us? If it’s so ridiculous.
My guess is, we wanna believe the things that Mary sings…
“He bared his arm and showed his strength, scattered the bluffing braggarts. He knocked tyrants off their high horses, pulled victims out of the mud. The starving poor sat down to a banquet; the callous rich were left out in the cold. He embraced his chosen child….”
I know I do.
Even when it makes me squirm.
I need to know that exuberant faith in God is an option. Even when the odds are stacked against God. I need to be reminded that being moved…being moved towards God, sometimes leads to no-vacancy signs and late nights and shirts with permanent spit-stains…and even in spite of all that, something miraculous can happen. And I need to remember that even the most unassuming among us…like an insignificant teen from an insignificant town….can do pretty incredible things when we are moved to God.
So I’ll continue to let Mary sing to me. Especially now. When everything is so squirmey.