For the Mighty One has done great things for me;
holy is God’s name!
From generation to generation,
God’s lovingkindness endures
for those who revere Him. Luke 1:49-50 VOICE
It’s a quote from a movie, I know. But when I think of you, I hear the words, “There’s no present like the time.” You, dear year, reminded us of how precious the gift of time is.
Time to gather. Time to rest. Time to restore. Time to love. Time to see how timeless the Lord’s love is for us, and how His plans weave past, present, and future into the most powerful storylines of all.
He did that, you know, in the life of a teen mom. And the storyline He crafted in her has forever changed our storyline too. You understand her, don’t you, 2020? A storyline wrapped in both divinity and scandal. A very true tale of unlikely redemption. A God-breathed narrative of time made eternal, of light shattering darkness.
We don’t know what you’ll become, but we know that, as Advent becomes Epiphany (“God made visible.”), there is no present like the time.
I am thankful for a young woman woven into the genealogy of Jesus and God’s ever-present timeline of divine grace and mercy.
Upon entering, Gabriel greeted her:
You’re beautiful with God’s beauty,
Beautiful inside and out!
God be with you.
She was thoroughly shaken, wondering what was behind a greeting like that. But the angel assured her, “Mary, you have nothing to fear. God has a surprise for you: You will become pregnant and give birth to a son and call his name Jesus.”
Joseph was a descendent of David, a golden link in a royal necklace. And he fell in love with a priceless jewel. Though a teenager, there was something in Mary’s eyes that told Joseph she held the wisdom of the ages, that her delight was found in things the eye couldn’t see. He wanted to care for her, and he longed to learn from her. With the idea of a life ahead of them, he worked on the home they would share and dreamt of the day he would walk down the aisle to give her his heritage.
What Joseph didn’t yet understand but would certainly soon see would be the royalty that already lived within Mary. Chosen to wrap the God of the universe in humanity as He revealed His impeccable love to His own by walking alongside us in complete vulnerability, she was given an unseen sceptre and crown. But her place has been established in the beginning, in the garden, when God’s words first became flesh. He had called her Ezer Kenegdo – “strong helper standing face-to-face.” There, in the first forming and shaping of woman, God thought tenderly of Mary. He saw creation cradled in her arms, saw salvation playing with sticks, saw redemption through her tear-stained eyes as the sun set on calvary, saw her at the tomb on Resurrection Day, saw her with the 120 as fire fell at Pentecost.
He saw the present of time in her. She held the gift of eternity in her trembling hands.
In Mary, God saw His creativity shine. And so He sees ours. We are strong helper standing face-to-face. We are creators, we are life-bearers, we are hope-bringers, we are dream-keepers. It is our shape and design that brings change into the world. We too carry the present of time. We too hold the gift of Christ’s eternity in our trembling hands.
You’re inviting us, aren’t you, 2020? You’re inviting us today. And so, let our response be the same as Mary’s.
“I see it now. Let it be just as You said.”
Blessed Epiphany. God is here, God with us. Let it be just as He said.