All joking aside, it got us thinking about the real meaning of Christmas.
It all began, of course, with Adam and Eve and that nibble of the apple or pomegranate or whatever that got them both in a lot of hot water with the Almighty. Then throughout the ages, we have a lot of back and forth, covenants made and broken with the chosen people, the Jewish race. Until finally, God looks down at his people, miserable under the Roman yoke, and decides: Now's the time.
But he can't do it alone. He needs someone to say yes. And that someone is a 14 year old virgin, engaged to be married, who - if she says yes and is, in fact, pregnant without knowing man as the bible tells us - could be stoned to death. According to our pastor, the tradition in Jesus' time was that Mary would be led in shame before her parent's house by Joseph. Joseph and her parents would have been forced by Jewish law to cast the first stones in the hail of rocks that would kill her.
We think of Mary as that haloed graceful lady in a blue robe portrayed in statues and paintings. She's come down to us as this larger-than life figure. She's the Queen of Heaven and our protector. She bore the son of God, she stood by him, she stood at the foot of the cross and was among the first disciples.
It's hard to remember that she was a terrified 14 year old talking to....an angel.
The true meaning of Christmas, to me, is that yes. It's like the shot heard round the world at Lexington and Concord. That yes was the yes heard round the world. It wasn't just "Let this be done according to your will." It was...
Yes, I believe.
Yes, I accept this...and anything that may come my way, including shame, dishonor and death. (A real possibility for her)
Yes, the world is worth redeeming.
Today, instead of rushing to the mall to give gifts, how about giving a yes to God in honor of that first real Christmas present - the yes of Mary? Say yes to showing patience instead of annoyance with someone. Say yes to spending time with a family member. Say yes to whatever God puts into your heart that he wants done....you know he does it; he talks to each of us through the small, still voice known as intuition. If you can't hear it, it's still there. Spend a bit more time in quiet prayer or just in quiet, by yourself, meditating if you can, and you'll start hearing it.
Christmas is about yes. The greatest present ever given to you or to me wasn't a toy, or a gadget. It was that whispered Yes in a little house in Nazareth when asked if she was willing. Mary said yes. And thanks to that little present, we have been given riches unimaginable.
|Pierre still wants presents, however.|