Christmas Story Meditation — Mary and Joseph
“Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the City of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.” Luke 2:4-7.
Here we have two of the main characters of the story, Mary and Joseph, a couple of nobodies in this mass migration of humanity on the move. This is the ironic twist: two people with no power are the center of the story. In a couple of sentences we go from Emperor Augustus and Quirinius to Mary and Joseph, people of so little consequence in the human scheme of things they can’t even get a room at the inn.
What was truly remarkable about Mary was her capacity to say yes to God, and how she offered space within herself for God to dwell. Each of us, too, has that sacred inner space where God wants to dwell, where God wants to be born anew in us. We may feel it as a deep hunger, or a creativity that wants to be given voice, our soul’s yearning for our lives. We too may find that “there is no room at the inn.” We may find that the world rejects the deep spirit within us, that it denies its expression and seeks to shut it out. It may sound like this: “you? you can’t write.” “or “How are you going to earn a living?” “That’s no job for a woman.” Or “don’t be ridiculous. Be practical.” Like Mary, if we have the courage to persist, to trust this deep yearning that wants to be birthed in us, we might find hospitality in the most unlikely of places. From Mary, we might learn to trust this longing as the action of God, and we are reminded that God chose to enter into human life in the humblest, the most intimate and most vulnerable way possible. Here the sacredness of the feminine as well as the masculine is revealed; the sacredness of the womb, the inner spaces as well as the outer realm. Christ took the low way of entering the world, the way of the abandonment of power and might.
What are you longing for? What is it that wants to be born in you?