To the world, love may be a romantic feeling, a mushy, positive sentimentality. It is something you have in your heart, something you feel. You either have it or you don’t. It is a noun.
For a Christian, though, love is something you DO. It is a verb, an action. To say that more accurately: It is a way of acting; a way of being in the world every minute, of every hour, of every day. It is who we are and who we are becoming by what we are DOING with the energy that we believe comes from God. Which brings me to Christmas. If this season has any real meaning beyond all the sugary sentimentality it is this:
Christmas is the incarnation of love, and not just any love but Divine love, holy love, seminal love, the love that birthed all creation.
The word “incarnation” is a $5 word that simply means that God took on human flesh or, as the Christmas story in the Gospel of John puts it, “The Word became flesh and dwelled among us and we beheld his glory.”
Mary is the bearer of God’s love in human flesh. In her very body, love becomes a verb. In her very body, love takes flesh and becomes something God does. In the flesh of Jesus, God comes to us to heal and to feed, to help and to hold, to teach and to lift, to forgive, release and redeem.
Although this miracle is celebrated around the world this time of year, and Mary is venerated, she isn’t the only one called to do this work. Meister Eckhart, the wise 13th-century mystic said, “We are all called to be mothers of God, for God is always waiting to be born.”
“Mothers of God.” You and me. Called to bear in our bodies, in our flesh, the life of God. Called to be the incarnation, the in-fleshing, of the Divine love that birthed all creation, the seminal love of the universe, the redeeming love of the human race. You and me, mothers of God.
That seems to be more than any of us are capable of, but I believe Mary holds the secret. She knew it really wasn’t about her. Her response to Gabriel was to let her soul “magnify the LORD” and then muster all the courage she had to say, “Yes! Yes, let it be to me as you have said.”
Who knows what might happen if we had that kind of courage to let God be born in us this Christmas?
Rev. Michael Piazza