Gift of Remembering

On Christmas Eve I went out for a walk and stopped into the cathedral in our neighborhood. I sat in the front row and looked up at the statues of Mary holding Jesus as a baby. I’ll be honest, normally I struggle with the fanfare around Mary. But in this moment I feel like I was able to imagine her as she was: young, obedient, humble, risky, and trusting. The nobility that so many people put upon her (crowns, robes, etc) was taken away and I was able to see something new. She was unmarried, engaged to a carpenter, soon to be on the run to Egypt where her ancestors we’re once enslaved…

These young girl’s arms mothered God in the flesh…in very difficult times. Her journey to Egypt and back makes our inter-continental flights with kids look like an hour massage. It’s not just she mothered Jesus as a baby, but it seems as though Joseph may have widowed her before Jesus was 30 (no mention of him in Jesus’ later life).

I’ve been thinking a lot about the character of God in the past week. To be honest, with the difficulties that we’ve had (relative to our lives of course) there have been times when I haven’t seen God as being for me the way that I once felt. I think that this is more about me and than God (imagine that…not so stunning of a conclusion).

But this season I’ve been drawn to remembering that it is God’s very nature to be for His creation. If there is anything that helps this argument it is this: God became one of us…not to teach himself anything about what it was like to be a human, but to teach us that he is willing to be a human to reach out to us. There are some things that I can get my head around, this is not one of them. If God is truly unimaginable, which I believe He is, then it is hard to fathom him choosing to become so tangible. If anything to become knowable in a new way.

So this season, my greatest gift was/is the gift of remembering (again). Remembering that God is for me(us). Remembering that God wants to know me(us). And that this creative force wants me(us) to continually know him in new ways.

ps…I wonder if to truly know is to fully trust…maybe for another post.


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  1. Christine on December 26, 2010 at 5:09 pm

    So nice to have you posting again, Justin. I love the reflections you’ve shared. One of my favorite quotes this Christmas has been from a song written by three sisters, who are also mothers. “I love the child born in humility, who changed the course of humanity.” As you indicated, He didn’t have to do that…He chose to. So grateful we are able to share in the gift. (keep writing….it suits you 🙂

  2. John on December 27, 2010 at 2:47 am

    At our church this year we had a female preacher talking about Mary and Elizabeth’s stories. I heard their stories in a way that the low tones of a male voice never would have been able to communicate. I’m glad you found the vulnerability of Mary encouraging this year. God Bless your ministry.

    Shalom,

    John and Michelle Estelle

  3. Diane on December 27, 2010 at 5:54 am

    Great post Justin. I have had a case of the ba hum bugs and a huge pity me party this Christmas season. Your post has helped me to remember…….
    Thanks

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