Today is the first day of Advent in the Christian calendar; a time when we prepare ourselves to the upcoming incarnation of God into the Christ. So today I remembered the humanity of Mary when she was faced with the tremendous task of carrying the Son of God in her womb. Do we really realized what she went through? I really feel so uncomfortable with the many representation of the Christmas story and how they portrayed Mary as a very innocent teen age girl getting the news as the most miraculous and glorious news ever received.
But let me tell you about Mary’s humanity: she was pregnant by the mysterious work of God. Who would ever believe a story like that in our times? Who father in the right mind will believe that his pregnant daughter is the result of a miracle of God? Please think for a moment the reality of Mary’s life. Even worst, in her times a girl who was found pregnant without being married it was sentence to death. “Oh yes by the way daddy! I am pregnant and the father is God”. When the angel appeared to her she entered into a state of panic, desperation, anxiety; I bet she tried to run away and hide and never to be seen. People were going to start talking gossiping, rejecting her. She will be dishonor and if death sentence, for any case would be forgiven, she will be cast out and become unclean. No family will ever help her or even acknowledge her. She will be forever criticized. Henry Nouwen says, “It is a sign of spiritual maturity when we can give up our illusory self-control and stretch our our hands to god. But it would be just another illusion to believe that reaching out to God will free us from pain and suffering. Often, indeed it will take us where we rather would not go”(The Dance of Life, 42).
Mary, in the midst of this confusion, realized her humanity and asked the angel for assurance of what she was listening.A very interesting thing that happened is that the angel mentioned Mary’s cousin Elizabeth telling her that after many years of trying to have a baby, she was pregnant as well. If is like the angel was saying: The only way you will believe is if you can see outside of yourself and see how others are experiencing the miracle of life”
Look out of yourself, Mary!, and see everybody else, then you will be able to experience the wonderful life within you.Guess what? She did it!.
For the last months I have experienced Mary’s fears in many occasions, until last Monday when my friend Hector invited me to a special place, a place where the rejected ones have found a place in community. I was looking into my own problems, but then this angel(my friend) took my hand and transported me to see what God(or whom ever they follow) was doing in the lives of those who have been criticized, hurt, left aside.For most, these are the unclean and despised, for me they were part of the miracle God was trying to show me: the birth of a new life within me. It was like God saying: Miguel look around!! I have done it with them, I can do it with you”. but God…I am scare, what am I going to be doing?. Then, while siting outside, this man came and said to me: “Miguel, you seem like you need a hug”.I almost lost myself in his embrace, and the deepest inner part of my heart started to cry.
When I left Hector at home, I cried the whole way to my house, there were times that I needed to stop because I could not see the way because my tears were blinding me.
Look out of yourself Miguel! and see everybody else, remember your humanity and then you will see the humanity in everybody else. When you do this then you will experience the true miracle of life within you. You will experience the true Christ, the true advent and the true Christmas. Guess what? I am climbing up from the hole of my fears and I will grab any hand that can be reachable so we can experience togetherness and the real miracle of this season.
I am because He is!
I am because you are!
Together we are the new life.
Note: This is dedicated to my new friends from Short Mountain Sanctuary, even though I did not talked to you a lot; I saw in your eyes healing, acceptance, understanding, solidarity and like Lady Gaga said:”a safe space where people can feel free and they can celebrate, so they do not have to feel like freaks”. Despise what you have heard, you are living what real church should be; I wish we were able to put aside our pride and learn from you; we could easily be transformed.