This Advent meditation is part of the Liberti Church 2019 Advent and Christmas Prayerbook, and it is by Liberti member Jordan Cupo.
As a child, the joy of Christmas morning was unmatched. Wide awake in my bed with anticipation, I would watch the clock count down. I was raised to believe that Santa might not come to kids who wake their parents up before 7am on Christmas morning. Once that magical hour struck, it was a flurry of shouts and laughter as a tornado of flying bows, ribbon, and wrapping paper unfurled in the living room beneath the Christmas tree.
Proclamations of joy aren’t hard to find this time of year, even outside of the church. And there are many reasons to be joyful in this season. There is something special about the smell of freshly baked cookies, gatherings of family and friends, gift-giving, candles, evergreens, and hot chocolate.
Yet, the joy of the Christmas season stands in stark contrast to the broken circumstances of our world. We see others who gather at Christmas, and it reminds us of our own loneliness. We see tables filled with plenty, and it reminds us of our own hunger. We see the gifts of others, and it reminds us of our own financial stress.
In this Advent season, when I reflect on Mary the mother of Jesus, I am reminded that her joy wasn’t a result of her circumstances. At the time God tells her she will give birth to Jesus, she doesn’t have a high position or wealth, and she is about to face her future as an unmarried, pregnant young woman in ancient Israel. Based on Mary’s life circumstances alone, God’s promise that she would be the mother of the Messiah seems to be the most unlikely, unbelievable event in all of world history.
I wonder if, at the time, Mary knew the full extent of God’s promise. Did she know that the complete fulfillment of God’s plan would mean seeing her son taken prisoner and beaten? Did she know that her son would be nailed to a cross? Her eternal joy would not be without deep suffering. Still, her response is “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word” (Luke 1.38).
The same is true for us. We face the brokenness of the world knowing that God will never fail, whatever comes our way. I pray this season to find joy in the same words from the angel Gabriel that brought joy to Mary, “For nothing will be impossible with God” (v. 37); and to find comfort in the promise that followed: “And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord” (v. 45).
About the Author: Jordan is most happy when she is curled up with a good cup of coffee and her knitting. She and her husband Ryan live in the Wissahickon neighborhood of Philadelphia.
Art: Ivanka Demchuk, Annunication