A precious aspect of the Christmas story is what it says about the God we worship. This morning’s passages are familiar, so familiar, and yet unceasingly astonishing.
Our God chooses to intervene in His creation. The intervention is not from a safe distance, but intimate, costly, messy and full of risk. Our God will be gestated and birthed.
Our God chooses to partner with a young girl, barely a woman. In blessing, rescuing and freeing all humanity, God relies on the humble cooperation, love and service of someone without worldly status or prestige.
This aspect of the Christmas narrative is, I think, particularly moving for women. We know only too well the powerlessness, demeaning and subjugation of so many women across the world. We know the current statistics of domestic violence in our own community are tragically and incomprehensibly high. Through the angel, God bestows upon this young woman words of affirmation, love and respect. “Greetings favoured one. The Lord is with you.” “Do not be afraid Mary, for you have found favour with God.”
God is not ashamed of women, of our bodies, of relying on our love, courage, resourcefulness and obedience. In response, Mary is not afraid of God. His love and trust give Mary the confidence to respond with a sense of her own worth and identity, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.”
Here is our God. Sublimely uninterested in human ideals of power and privilege. Jesus, who Mary will bear, will indeed be “…great, and will be called the Son of the Most High…”, however we know this greatness will be expressed in His willingness to become servant of all.
Here is our God. Born by a woman. Signaling, in this extraordinary story of the angel and Mary, a love for his creation which surpasses all we could have ever hoped.
Jesus, as a man, experienced betrayal, sorrow and abandonment. From his conception however, this dear human girl loved, nurtured, held and nourished the Son of the Most High. The gift and grace of God to us was given through the trustful willingness of Mary. A truth worthy of wonder this Christmas.