Sunday, December 23, 2012

An Advent Journey: Stop, Look, Listen - Day 22, Fourth Sunday

"And Mary responded,

     'Oh, how my soul praises the Lord.
           How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!
      For he took notice of his lowly servant girl,
         and from now on all generations will call me blessed.
      For the Mighty One is holy,
         and he has done great things for me.
      He shows mercy from generation to generation
         to all who fear him.
      His mighty arm has done tremendous things1
         He has scattered the proud and haughty ones.
      He had brought down princes from their thrones
         and exalted the humble.
      He has helped his servant Israel
         and remembered to be merciful.
      For he made this promise to our ancestors,
         to Abraham and his children forever.'"
            -- Luke 1:46b-55

Denim tennis shoes under her silky blue robe. Somehow it was perfect for Mary, the mother of Jesus. It was the first grade Christmas program at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Elementary School, and our granddaughter Gracie was an angel. She was, as usual, captivating, clear-spoken, smiling and T-A-L-L. I loved watching her stand up straight, speak into the microphone, even with so many teeth missing, and read her portion of the narrative before joining the angel band for a rousing rendition of, "Hark, the Herald Angels Sing."

But it was the tennis shoes peeking out of the blue robe that caught my eye and eventually my heart that Monday afternoon, the Monday after Newtown. 

Just ordinary, everyday tennis shoes. 

Just an ordinary, everyday girl, that Mary. Living her life, loving her family, pleasing God by her very existence, her very ordinariness. 

And then, out of her mouth, this song springs forth. Prophetic words, sung with confidence and power and joy and thanksgiving, ringing with justice and righteousness and LIFE.   So much for ordinary. 

For, in truth, there is no ordinary child, is there? Each one is a treasure, a living, breathing bundle of possibility. Someone clearly took good care of Mary as she was growing from childhood to young adulthood. I wonder how we care for our girls. . .

What if we looked at every little girl on this globe as a Mary? A vision of loveliness and grace, ready at any given moment to burst forth in glorious song.

How might we treat or children with such care and tenderness and encouragement and hope? 

Maybe by giving them blue denim tennis shoes to keep them rooted to the earth. And a blue silk robe to help them reach for the heavens.

Thank you for Mary and her song, Lord. For her startling insight and her strong words; for her willingness to bridge the gap between earth and heaven. Help me to sing strongly, too, Lord. To sing of hope and of sorrow, of joy and of loss, of promise and of fulfillment. Help me to sing of you and for you  and to you.