Who, me?

This week is the first Sunday of Advent. Whilst these seasons are an invention of the Church, they do help us to focus and reflect on the important occasions that are foundational to our faith as Christians. They can also help us to pause in the general busyness of the year to re-orient our lives and re-establish the centrality of our faith in Christ. This Sunday we will be reflecting on the announcement to Mary that she was going to be the mother of Jesus, and the song of praise that she sang during her visit to her cousin Elizabeth. It is very easy to spiritualise everything that is said and done in the gospels, and put the people concerned on a pedestal. However, the clear message of the incarnation is that God becoming human in Jesus, is God entering fully into His creation and engaging with the ordinary people He has called into being, becoming part of their lives. The message of Christmas is not just about a rescue plan that will keep us safe when we leave this planet, but the action of God in Christ in the world while we live this life. The song of Mary and the announcement of Jesus at the beginning of his ministry declare it. In modern times we have learned to neatly compartmentalise our lives, but for Mary, Joseph and all those we meet in the Bible, faith in God was central to and the focus of life. It informed everything and life was to be an act of worship. This is perhaps summed up in the obedience of Joseph and the words of Mary: ‘I am the Lord’s servant. May your word to me be fulfilled.’ (Luke 1: 38)