Advent's third-candle focus.
She is surely more than a figurine who yearly visits our windowsill.
More than a face on a card.
But how shall she be recognized by us
--to do her honor through the way we live our lives?
Catholic or Protestant,
all hear Jesus say of her to John, "...here is your mother."
And if we be brothers with John--as fellow disciples,
is she not also our mother?
How shall we honor her as sons and daughters?
The first clue is not at the manger.
It is long before that.
It is in the mouth of her aunt.
It is words that prime the pump for the Magnificat:
And blessed [is] she that believed:
for there shall be a performance of those things
which were told her from the Lord.
It is surely noble work.
Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?
Jesus answered and said unto them,
This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.
Mary's work...a pure, unadulterated expression
of one doing the works of God.
But what of us?
Is all structural believing work finished?
And our work nothing but trimwork? Embellishment?
How tempting to be lazy if such were true.
But Isaiah gives us this picture:
Thus saith the LORD,
As the new wine is found in the cluster,
and [one] saith, Destroy it not; for a blessing [is] in it:
so will I do for my servants' sakes,
that I may not destroy them all.
It is work to see the new wine
--the wine of the Son--
the blessing even yet in the cluster.
Now as always
It is work to imagine good springing from places most unlikely.
It is work to ache for vengeance and justice;
to watch the spread of brutal power,
all the while knowing you serve a God
who could pinch out the evil like a candle's flame,
to grasp that arm of divine power,
and say, "Wait. Do not destroy.
I see a blessing in it even yet."
Today more than ever,
We inherit the work