Duncan's Message Dec. 2018

Message from Duncan Dec. 2018

I have a question to ask everyone who reads this; and I ask it through a reflection that our churchgoers have heard before. As we approach Christmas, may it speak to you.

Imagine that Mary, mother of Jesus, is thinking aloud:

Such light and noise! At first I thought Roman soldiers were marching past, the early sun flashing from their armour. But the noise was unique - as if my name was whispered to the wind, a wind which sung a song around each syllable.

And it was my name. Suddenly a figure stood before me, flooding my life with light. I was kneeling in prayer, my robe on the pressed mud floor; but the figure made me feel as if I ran through a meadow.

Mary’, the voice said, as if the most important name in the world. ‘Do not be afraid!’ Yet, I felt no fear: not the fear that the soldiers made me feel: elbowing others aside and forcing them to carry unwieldy packs; strutting through our lives as if we were insects.

No, not that fear. Not fear that could turn to hate. Rather, it was a fear that made me want to give my life for someone else. The fear that leads to right living and rejoicing in God.

Then the figure spoke a phrase that shook me to my core: ‘You have found favour with God,’ it said. ‘You will be with child and give birth to a son.’

A son! I had longed for such. But not yet! It is Joseph’s child I should have, as to him I am betrothed. No man had known me. If they had, Joseph would reject me. I would be cast out. No home. No husband. No future. A stranger in my land.

So, this vision from God was calling me to let go. To risk disgrace. To unclasp any security I hoped for, and plans I had made, and let God clasp them instead. I was being called to be God’s handmaiden first. What could I say? I did not understand how, but knew that God would.

The vision was saying more, but it went past in a whirl: ‘Jesus… He will be great… Son of the Most High… The throne of David… Reigning for ever…’ All these words rained upon me, until I whispered my uncertainty: ‘How can this happen?’

The vision smiled, in a way that soothed every anxious muscle. ‘The Holy Spirit,’ it said, as if that explained everything. And, of course, it did. The Holy Spirit has brooded over life from the beginning, bringing order from chaos, and is always with God’s people even when we turn away and try to run our own lives.

So here I am, responding to God’s smile by saying ‘yes’ and letting it happen. Whether I have the courage to continue to trust, when God’s way becomes obvious in the outline of my body, that remains to be seen. But I look to God, and the support he gives. After all, if I carry the Son of God, then the Father of this child will be a strong wall around us. No matter what.

My question to you this Christmas is: Will you respond to God, saying ‘Yes’ and trusting him. That may be the best thing you ever do, and will give you a strong wall to lean on for the rest of your life. Have a great Christmas.


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