Every Christmas we do a song by Francesca Battistelli called "Born In Me." The words are beautiful and challenging. They reflect, especially, the chaotic year we have individually and corporately experienced. "Everything inside me cries for order ... everything inside me tries to hide. Is this shadow and angel or a warrior? If God is pleased with me, why am I so terrified? Someone tell me I am only dreaming. Somehow help me see with heaven's eyes. And before my head agrees, my heart is on its knees. Holy is He, blessed am I. Be born in me, be born in me. Trembling heart, somehow, I believe. That You chose me. ... Make my heart your Bethlehem, be born in me." Great words, but a better idea.
There is a verse of submission ... humility ... and clarity, when Mary, amidst fear, unknown outcomes, national chaos and personal sacrifice, says these words ... "I am the Lord's servant, Mary answered. May Your word to me be fulfilled. Then the angel left her (Luke 1:38)." Be born in me!
Those are hard words and the idea is even harder. We live in a self-focused world. "What's in it for me?" It's all about my rights, my body, my perspective. We have somehow shrunk god down to an idea that fits into a box of our understanding. But this story has Mary, a teenager, that knows nothing about how all of this will impact her future. There will certainly be shame, hardship, pain and some very uncomfortable family discussions. Her new status will be hard, even impossible, to love for some of her family and friends. Everything she has known will be in a rear-view mirror that she will never see again. Everything will change for her, and she has no idea how any of it will turn out. Yet ... she says, in The Message version of this passage, "Let it be with me, just as you say!" Be born in me!
The words that come to me as I read this passage are Submission, Sacrifice, Sorrow and Significance. Mary submits her very body to God's plan ... not her plan. As we debate abortion, Mary reminds us that life isn't about us ... it is about something bigger than us. Mary sacrifices her planned future for the hope and future God has planned. She is all in to what God is doing, no matter what it means for her. Mary accepts the sorrow that will accompany her decision. Most of us say, "God doesn't want me to have sorrow or hurt." I wonder if God doesn't intervene in those events that cause sorrow because God knows that part of life with/in Him is to go through pain in His comfort, presence and sufficiency? While my words can't adequately explain this, my heart sees this unfold as we, with God's help, are able to comfort and love friends in their times of hurt, pain and need. God is truly (Psalm 34:18) "near to those who are brokenhearted." Finally, Mary becomes, through submission, sacrifice and sorrow, cosmically significant. I hear so many wanting their lives to be meaningful, worthwhile and significant. So, they bargain with God ... they become human 'doers' instead of human 'beings' ... they run on the hamster wheel of spirituality like their effort and energy can somehow attain and fathom a God that is above and beyond our ability to fully know. And all the while little Mary, in a little room in Nazareth (a truly obscure teenager) does something that makes her (according to God's Word) "the most fortunate woman on earth." She sings, "What God has done for me will never be forgotten!" Mary knows that what is happening is the most significant thing that has ever happened on earth!
Do you want some of that significance? Instead of following the world's plan, try submission, sacrifice, sorrow as paths to God's plan. It isn't easy, but love and life are never easy. But Jesus' yoke is easy and his burden is light, and you will find rest for your soul! Randy