Friday, December 3
Yes, the Luke verses are repeated today. There’s more to ponder. Uniquely female questions occur to me–but they are for men as well. Mary, a chaste woman (I am a virgin) asks a logical and personal question (How will this be…?) Perhaps even at this point of the conversation, Mary has an inkling of the consequences that lay ahead: misunderstanding at the least, excommunication, divorce and even death are all possibilities.
Artificial insemination, surrogacy are not options. Gabriel bluntly announces, You will conceive… The Holy Spirit will come upon you… My question: when did the Holy Spirit “come upon” Mary? When did conception take place? Was it shortly after Mary’s, I am the Lord’s servant? Was Mary aware of the moment?
Madeleine L’Engle poetically describes the Holy Spirit’s mysterious work in Bearer of Love:
The great swan’s wings were wild as he flew down…
And Mary sat, unknowing, unaware,
The angel’s wings were wilder than the swan
as God broke through the shining, waiting air…
young Mary, moved by Gabriel, acquiesced,
asked nothing for herself in lowliness,
accepted, too, the pain and then, most blest,
became the bearer of all holiness.
When does God “birth” new plans within us? Is it when we still have questions without answers? Or when we say–at any age–“I’m ready to say anything, go anywhere, be anyone”? Gabriel may not be asking, but God still waits to hear our answer.