Spirit & Life

They All Found Home

Luke 1: 26-38, 46-55
The Annunciation and the Magnificat…but something significant is missing!
A snapshot of belonging, joy and finding ‘home’ in this unusual and unexpected year.
 
Luke 1: 39-45
Soon afterward Mary got ready and hurried off to a town in the hill country of Judea.  She went into Zechariah’s house and greeted Elizabeth.  When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby moved within her. Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and said in a loud voice, “You are the most blessed of all women, and blessed is the child you will bear! Why should this great thing happen to me, that my Lord’s mother comes to visit me? For as soon as I heard your greeting, the baby within me jumped with gladness. How happy you are to believe that the Lord’s message to you will come true!”

Reflection

I remember the absolute joy of pregnancy, and sharing this news with family and friends. I remember the blessings from strangers and the kindnesses they offered me.
However, Mary could not celebrate or share her news. She was promised but not wed. She faced being an outcast, disowned, disgraced, abused. Elizabeth had lived in constant shame of barrenness, lowering her place in societal eyes, purposeless, unproductive and ‘old’. They both knew the depth of loneliness and isolation brought about by being ‘other’ than society expected. When they met, no wonder Elizabeth and Mary greeted each other with such deep joy. They fully understood the hope and purpose that came to them in unexpected ways.  
Coronavirus has left a trail of disruption, loneliness and isolation, spreading fear, disorder and constant change across our community. The Christmas narrative reveals a story of change for the lonely and shamed. The pregnant maiden carrying her secret. The older woman shedding her shame. Joseph disregarding societal expectations and holding Mary in love. Alone they travel, to find no place for them on arrival. Hospitality is shown by a stranger, as they share shelter, and new life, with working animals. Shepherds, humble and deprived, isolated for most of their days, are called to welcome this child and celebrate new beginnings with them as family. Wise Ones who took a seemingly unwise journey, left comfort, wealth, privilege and ease of living, to seek and celebrate with this humble new family.
Christmas speaks to those alone, shamed, ostracised, lowly, deprived, privileged, and all God’s creatures.
Called together by God, they all found home.

Prayer – that we see the otherness….
God who sees those of the otherness,
Open our eyes this Christmas, we pray.
For…

– mothers alone on their journey.
– couples who stand outside the wishes of their community.
– those who long for a family.
– older parents, with their exhaustion mixed with joy.
– those on long journeys, finding no place to belong.
– welcoming creation and generous animals
– poorly paid in society’s necessary jobs.
– the generosity of those with the least.
– the tenacity to follow through on what is significant.
– closed ears to songs of joy ringing throughout life 

For the Lost, you call us.
To the lonely, let us stretch out our hands.
With every creature, we find family.
Help us see home in unexpected places.
Grow our tenacity to
do what is just, with kindness,
celebrate the joy we find with all creation,
hear the Spirit singing in our days,
And live in restful peace of a still, calm night.
Amen, Amen, Amen

© Rev Anne Hewitt, 16/12/20
this reflection & prayer may be shared as long as the original writer is credited.

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