Prepare to Listen. Light all 4 Advent candles and pray with thanksgiving: A child has been born for us, a son given to us.
Prayerfully Read Luke 1:26-38
26In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, 27to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28And he came to her and said, ‘Greetings, favoured one! The Lord is with you.’ 29But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. 30The angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God. 31And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. 33He will reign over the house of Jacob for ever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.’ 34Mary said to the angel, ‘How can this be, since I am a virgin?’ 35The angel said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. 36And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. 37For nothing will be impossible with God.’ 38Then Mary said, ‘Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.’ Then the angel departed from her.
I was about five years old when I heard this story of Mary in a way that registered in my mind. I was fascinated. Mary, favored by God, was chosen to give birth to the Son of God, chosen to be a God-bearer. I longed to be Mary. When I got home I asked my mother whether God would ever choose me to give birth to his Son (my theology was non-existent in those days). I thought I too was ready to say, ‘Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.’
No angel Gabriel ever visited me! Years later I discovered that I, like Mary, am a God-bearer. Well, not exactly like her. No more virgin births! But called to be a God-bearer, nonetheless, and I needed to respond.
Disciples of Jesus (think Christians) are God-bearers, regardless of their status. Mary was an unlikely God-bearer. She was young, poor, uneducated and unknown. God, it seems, delights in using most unlikely suspects, including you and me. Our Christian calling is to bring God to the world, make God in Christ known through our words and, even more, through our lifestyle. As Thomas Merton said shortly before his death, “What we are asked to do today is not to so much speak about Christ as to let him live in us so that people may find him by feeling how he lives in us” . Each of us must respond to God’s call to be a God-bearer, bringing God into the world through how we live.
You too are called to be a God-bearer. What characteristics do you see in Mary that you can emulate?
Respond to Jesus
Lord, give me Mary’s courageous faith to willingly say ‘yes’ to your mission to bring you into the world again and again. Amen.
Go live obediently in the world. Be a willing and humble God-bearer.
 In Halík, T. Patience with God. New York, NY: Doubleday, 2009, p. 23.
I am convinced that reading the Christian Bible is essential for our Christian spiritual nourishment. I speak from experience, over 60 years of experience. I also believe we'll never get bored reading the Bible over and over. Each time I read it, I learn something new. Read with me during Advent and learn to wait for Christ with heart and mind alert for his coming. The readings draw on my background of study and teaching the Bible for over 30 years.