In my Christmas Eve homily, I spoke about how the story of the nativity of Jesus intersects with the sadness and grief we feel over the gap between our Advent longings and our actual lives, and I quoted author K.J. Ramsey, who encourages us, in the midst of unfulfilled longings and daily suffering, to “welcome the wildest story…
The story of Love became more than words when a woman consented to bear a Life that couldn’t be understood, controlled, or protected from coming harm.
The Word became flesh through the womb of a woman. And her welcome still matters today.
Mary, who was poor and quite young, who grew up in an occupied city where sexual violence against unmarried women was rampant. Mary, who knew the stigma her courageous consent would bring.
Mary’s welcome still meets us where we are marginalized. Mary’s consent still calls out to us where we need courage.
Female bodies, disabled bodies, queer bodies, mentally ill bodies, and Brown and Black bodies continue to be the battleground where much of the church most reduces the story of Love into mere words. And Mary the Mother of God reminds us, if Love came through a bloodied birth canal to a woman whom society shamed, Love can still be born wherever society makes us stuck and treats us with scorn.
If we forget the context of Christmas, we will forget our context has already been christened.
Your positionality doesn’t preclude you from participating in the story of Love. Your struggles can’t stop you from being one in whom Love is born. Your wounds can never wall you off from welcoming Divinity into this world.
When the angel told Mary she would bear the Messiah, she said, “Let it be with me according to your word.”
May you say yes to welcoming the dignity of what your body bears.K.J. Ramsey (via Instagram)
Even in the midst of ongoing struggle, let us consent to the joy of Christmas for a few moments, allowing ourselves to exult in the wonder of the Incarnation, and the truth that death no longer has the last word.
Grace and peace,