Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Blessed am I

I was fourteen when He first came to me. Fourteen and wet  behind the ears, barely beyond the reach of childhood, not sure I was ready for what was just ahead. Responsibilities I wasn't sure I wasn't quite capable of.  Fourteen and innocent. So innocent that, unlike my more mature girlfriends, I'd backed away from relationships--even offered ones--though I'd been dreaming of them, playing make-believe about them, practicing for them my whole life.

When He came to me, He took me by surprise. Of course. How could it have been otherwise? I was going about my day, doing what was required of me, and suddenly there He was. Asking such a thing of me. Asking the world of me. The world and beyond, it seemed. In my innocence I didn't understand how it could be, but His calm, strong voice told me to trust Him.
And so I did. It wasn't as hard as you might think. If you'd been there, with Him in His glory standing in front of you, saying such things, asking such a thing, you'd know. There was no way to fall but toward Him. And so I did. "I am your handmaiden," I told Him. Just His handmaiden. No exalted place for me, when there is One such as Him doing the asking. A privilege, an honor, but a servant's privilege. "The Father will honor those who serve [Him]."

"Be it unto me," I said.
And it was.
He came into me. 
And it changed me. In an instant, though it took a bit for me to feel His presence. And then I knew. He was alive in me. And my life would never be the same. I had said Yes to Him. He would be born in me. Through me. And all the world would know. Would be changed.

So I sang. I sang glory to God. Glory, glory to God. Blessed am I!

This is, obviously, my retelling of Mary's story (with small licenses, if you'll forgive me). 
However, it's also my story in a way. I, too, was an innocent fourteen-year-old girl when He came into my life and changed it. I, too, was taken off-guard by Him, by the privilege of His coming and residing within me, and the profound change it made in my life. I, too, was humbled by His presence, though the manifestation of it, though instant, was also a process, a pregnancy, if you will.

And I think that perhaps Mary, though absolutely real and historical and as set-apart from the rest of us as the moon is from the earth, is also an archetype for each of us when He comes to us, enters into us. When our life is changed by the Holy Spirit being born in us. It is ours to bear Him, to say, "Be it unto me, I am your servant," to whatever He calls us to. It is ours to respond, "Be it unto me," in trust, in faith, with joy. Humbly believing that He will honor our calling, whatever it is. It is ours to witness to that calling but not to blow our own horns about it. And it is ours to sing His glorious praise for what He does in us. To say--with our hearts and minds and souls and strength, "Blessed am I!"

"Come to us, reside in us, O Lord, Emmanuel," says the old carol, O Little Town of Bethlehem. 

And I guess that's my point.
She alone is Mary, mother of Jesus.

But we are Marys, bearers of Christ, the Holy Spirit.

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