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Teach Me to Sing the Song of Mary

Dec 3, 2017 - Rev. Joy Gonzalez

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Rev. Joy told a story about one evening when she was relaxing at home and heard a knock at the door, opening it to find a band of carolers that erupted into song. They were decked out in their Christmas sweaters and Santa hats to sing the joyful songs of Advent. One thing made this caroling expedition a bit different – it was July with nearly triple-digit weather as they went door-to-door!

We often read the story of Advent with our own nostalgia and memories of Christmas in mind, but the story has some surprises that we often overlook. Perhaps the idea of Christmas in July can actually remind us of what the story of Christ’s birth was all about.

Like a Christmas in July, there is much about the Advent story that seems to happen in the wrong place, at the wrong time, and to the wrong person. We forget the odd details that Mary was a poor peasant girl from a backwater town on the edge of the Roman Empire when God called her highly favored and that she was an unwed teenage mother when she gave birth to the Son of God. Because this narrative has become conventional for us, we think, “of course she was a virgin” … “of course this miraculous baby was God’s Son.”

Perhaps the point is actually that the Christmas story goes against conventional wisdom. The people that we consider blessed and favored by God are not much like Mary – they’re more like people who already sent out their Christmas cards, or who manage to keep a two-year-old under control in a restaurant.

However, God chooses to identify with those people that we will not. God calls holy that which we impugn as vile. Like a Christmas coming at the wrong time of year, God’s good news breaks barriers by taking the side of those we see as poor and lowly.

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