Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass- it is about learning to dance in the rain.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Company's Coming!

As a small child, I remember the excitement those words would evoke: "Company's coming!" It also meant I had to clean my room. We had a small two-bedroom cottage in the country. When anyone came to visit, they slept in the bedroom that belonged to my sister and I. As the oldest, I was responsible to be sure the room was completely clean, including the closet, under the bed, and in that corner I loved to stash things to use "later." I was never very good at cleaning; my mother always had to help me.

It occurred to me today that that's exactly the message Mary received, so long ago. "
Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name, Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end." (Luke 1:30-33)

Which interpreted (PJ's Version) says, "Mary, you have company coming, very important company who will be very important now and in the future." Hmmm

Mary knew she wasn't prepared for this impressive guest to arrive, so she went to get counsel from her good friend and cousin, Elizabeth. Upon arrival, Elizabeth confirmed the angel's message and affirmed the value of Mary to the future of the Kingdom.

In response to Elizabeth's blessing, Mary responded with the very well-known marvelous Magnificat:

"My soul glorifies the Lord
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has been mindful
of the humble state of his servant
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
holy is his name. " (Luke 1:46-49)

PJ'S Version: I will give thanks to the Lord from the bottom of my heart, and be joyful because God has chosen to take me, a nobody, and give me this honor. Although in my community being with child and unwed is ordinarily a disgrace, now and forever, my name will be honored because God has chosen to do this great thing for me.

"His mercy extends to those who fear him,
from generation to generation.
He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts."
(Luke 1:50-51)

PJ's Version: God will extend forgiveness and mercy to people who love and serve him. He is a strong God who will scatter those who will not accept the Work of God, who will choose to make fun of me, choose to believe that I have brought disgrace on myself and my family and refuse to believe that this anointing (child) is from God. God will use his mighty strength against those who "imagine" that they are holier, and can speak for God Himself.

"He has brought down rulers from their thrones
but has lifted up the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things
but has sent the rich away empty."
(Luke 1:52-53)

PJ's Version: God has ushered in a new paradigm in which ordinary people will accomplish His great work. God will fill hungry hearts even though they come from poor environments; he will make them part of His Kingdom. But those who believe they have it all and are self-sufficient, he will send away.

"He has helped his servant Israel,
remembering to be merciful
to Abraham and his descendants forever,
even as he said to our fathers."
(Luke 1:54-55)

PJ's Version: God has remembered to extend mercy to the Jewish people and to Israel. He will continue to do so according to His promises, even to those spiritual descendants, the church, who will later receive the promise.

And Mary stayed with her cousin, Elizabeth, for three months. Together, they prepared to receive the promises of God: John the Baptist and Jesus. They cleaned house and prepared for Company.

God as Christmas approaches, I recognize that I need to clean house. And I'm not very good at this cleaning either. There are attitudes, behaviors and relationships that I need to work on, to "clean up," but I need your help. We're celebrating the coming of Jesus Christ our Savior who lives in my heart, and I want to embrace this Season with the idea that I must prepare for that very important personage. I recognize that I am powerless to "self-improve", I need your grace and mercy. With David, I pray:

"Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.

Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones you have crushed rejoice.

Hide your face from my sins
and blot out all my iniquity.

Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.

Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

(Psalm 51:7-12)

May you have a Blessed Christmas!

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