15-18 As the angel choir withdrew into heaven, the sheepherders talked it over. "Let's get over to Bethlehem as fast as we can and see for ourselves what God has revealed to us." They left, running, and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger. Seeing was believing. They told everyone they met what the angels had said about this child. All who heard the sheepherders were impressed.
19-20 Mary kept all these things to herself, holding them dear, deep within herself. The sheepherders returned and let loose, glorifying and praising God for everything they had heard and seen. It turned out exactly the way they'd been told!
Images, emotions and memories surround these familiar words: “ Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger.” Seeing was believing.” Mary, the mother of God.
As long as I can remember the first Christmas decoration that came out in my childhood and for over forty years in our own home is the nativity set. I inherited ours from a great aunt. It is not fancy, it is depression era, and several pieces have been mended, some are missing. Four generations have moved these ceramic pieces around. The hand made stable has the remnants of a label –it was built from a box of oranges imported from Japan. I walk by each day, say a little prayer, and often rearrange a piece or two.
So how 2000 years later do I see and believe. I see through experiences of grace in my life, the unexpected glimpses of God’s work within and among us.
Moments from today:
• In my files I found a message sent by Pastor Laurie from the Sunday we were snowed out a few years ago.
“We are all meant to be mothers of God. What good is it to me if this eternal birth of the divine Son takes place unceasingly but does not take place within myself? And, what good is it to me if Mary is full of grace if I am not also full of grace? What good is it to me for Creator to give birth to his Son If I do not also give birth to him in my time and my culture? This, then, is the fullness of time: When the Son of God is begotten in us” Meister Eckhart (14th Century)
• An e-mail newsletter “On Being with Krista Tippet” included a review of “The Book of Customs: A complete Handbook for the Jewish Year”. The phrase “navigating life while marking sacred time” stood out. I am reminded of my desire to understand more of our Jewish heritage.
• The MoTA e-news lead me to Bruce Flath’s review of “The Great Emergence How Christianity is Changing and Why” by Phyllis Tickle. I was struck by the “observers think it will, rewrite Christian theology — and thereby North American culture — into something far more Jewish, more paradoxical, more narrative, and more mystical than anything the Church has had for the last seventeen or eighteen hundred years.” I want to read this book.
• Kathy Truman’s Facebook post with Amy Grant singing “Breath of Heaven” (Mary’s song) the refrain “Hold me together, be forever near me” resonated with me.
• Reflecting on Mary, the mother of God, the feminine God I think of our trip to Mexico City in October Ed and I were both unexpectedly moved by the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe in the Cathedral. For me miracle of the shroud is the blending of cultures, symbols beliefs and faith. It was powerful reminder of the power and presence of God, the Mother.
For the shepherds “Seeing was believing” For me experiencing God’s presence is belief. I am blessed on a daily basis to be part of our amazing church family. God’s presence can be seen and felt in interactions, compassion, sharing, worshiping, discernment, studying and preparing ---Together we are navigating life while marking sacred time.
Do you ever feel the eager spiritual anticipation of the shepherds in Bethlehem?
How and when do you “see” God in your life?
Think of a time when you heard God's Word where you least expected it.
Have you shared those deep experiences with "everyone you've met?” With anyone?