While waiting for Christmas, do you wonder, as I do, about the pregnant women in the Christmas story? The following excerpts from a sermon by Rev. Kathryn M. Matthews, a pastor in the United Church of Christ, speaks clearly and wonderfully about the central role of those two women.
“Advent a time of waiting and preparation, a time pregnant with hope, and Mary and Elizabeth, two ordinary, pregnant women in the most extraordinary time, and on the brink of greatness, are tending first to their relationship with each other and with God.
“And, the young girl doesn’t have to explain her situation to Elizabeth, or ask her questions in search of answers, or even to ask for acceptance. “What she does not have is a sonogram, or a husband, or an affidavit from the Holy Spirit that says, ‘This child really is mine. Now leave the poor girl alone.’” (Home by Another Way –Barbara Brown Taylor)
“Henry Nouwen sees all this within a larger picture, where neither woman has to wait alone for the ordinary, personal experience of motherhood or the extraordinary, world-changing events to unfold, slowly, as pregnancies do. Thus, God’s most radical intervention into history was listened to and received in community.
“In this Advent season, we in the church are keenly aware that we wait in community for the promises of God to unfold in our lives, too. Just as Elizabeth and Mary, we help one another work things out. Sometimes, we just sit in the dark quiet and wait, together, trusting in the promises of God, listening for a word from the God who is faithful in every generation, every time, every place.
So, Mary’s song, isn’t just for Elizabeth but for every single one of us, reassuring us about God’s steadfast love, justice and faithfulness in every age. We move with her song, listening for God’s own heartbeat, a heartbeat of justice, compassion and transformational love.”