By Sandy Shipman
I understand the waiting of Advent, the wanting, the waning hope. Aching for justice, mercy, and love while experiencing division, judgment, and hate. We pray, “Thy Kingdom come,” like the Jews of Mary’s time praying for the Messiah. We pray and wait for the powerful and mighty to save us. Who would have thought that God would deliver the Messiah not from the mountaintop but from inside a human? That was unexpected.
Now, we have this annual practice of the whole church waiting expectantly for Jesus to come from inside Mary during the Advent season. Candles and choirs and scripture readings. But back then, most people didn’t know the Messiah was coming so soon. They had work and oppression and Laws on their mind. They had hope for the Messiah in the same way we do. Perhaps thy kingdom come, someday, later, in the future. But today, we have work to do, battles to fight, and morality to uphold and defend.
Mary was another teenager who got pregnant before marriage. I imagine she was shunned and judged and deemed less than. Few suspected the Spirit had entered her, that Jesus was alive within her. How might the conversations, the interactions have changed if the neighbors had known that God was so near?
I recently created art with a teenage girl, an amazing artist. She was kind, inquisitive, protective, and she made me laugh. She was also a six-year veteran of the juvenile justice system. And pregnant. I imagine she is shunned, judged, and deemed less than. I can hear the neighbors discussing virtue and choices and patterns of behavior. What if we knew the Holy Spirit was living inside her? What if we believed Jesus was alive within her? Would our conversations and interactions change with God so near?
Would we travel great distances and bring the child gifts? Do we?
What if, in all our conversations and interactions, we behaved as if we believed God was alive in each of us? What if we kept the Law and loved one another?
Anyway. I understand the waiting. The wanting. The waning hope.
Let’s surprise everyone with God’s Love delivered once more from inside a human. You. Me. Thy Kingdom Come.