Thursday, December 18, 2008

Mary's Fear -- a reading for Christmas Eve

Don't be afraid the angel said. What a laugh. Here I am minding my own business when an angel shows up and tells me I am pregnant! How else would I feel?

I mean there were so many reasons to be afraid. Once I got over the shock of an angel appearing there was the whole being pregnant before being married thing. Who was going to believe this story? I had a friend once who got pregnant at the wrong time. The best I could hope for was to be sent away quietly, and maybe find a husband who would accept me and my child. Or I could be cast out of my house and family altogether. OR even put to death. Darn right I was afraid.

But then Joseph believed me. My parents believed me. Yeah sure there are people around town who still point and whisper when I walk by. Do they think I don't see them or know what they say? But the people who needed to believe me believed me. That is all that matters.

The other thing that helped me not be afraid was visiting my cousin Elizabeth. She was so welcoming. And while I was with her I had a sense of what wonderful things could happen. God will do wonderful things through our children! And so I sang about God's justice, I sang a song of hope for all people who find themselves poor and desolate, I sang about God turning the world upside down.

But you know what? I am still afraid. Having a baby changes everything. Am I ready to be a mother? What does it mean to raise a child in this world? There are so many things that can happen. It wasn't that long ago that a town nearby was destroyed by the Romans. Will that happen here? It is so hard to live these days, not enough food, no money, always the threat of violence. I am afraid for how Jesus will cope with that. I worry about what it will do to him. And like any parent I worry what kind of a man he will be.

My world is about to change. I am about to become a mother. And I am excited, but a little afraid too.

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