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Communion Meditations (2019)

 

Mary

Originally scheduled for December 22

The annual Christmas pageant at our former church had an unusual feature that year. It was unusual because of its absence, not its presence. The traditional Christmas pageant usually has somebody playing the part of Joseph. He gets to wear a bathrobe and if lucky lead a donkey. He rarely gets a speaking part. This year, however, Joseph was completely missing. Why? It seems that our new minister decided that a single, unmarried Mary would be much more attractive to young women than a married Mary on a donkey led by Joseph.

There is no denying, however, that Mary has a much more significant role than Joseph. If for nothing else than the fact that she bore Jesus. Ladies, we are talking about childbirth. Childbirth in a time with no anesthetics and a significant risk of mom dying with the baby. She is known to the Greek churches as the theotokos - the “God bearer.” It might occur to you to ask why Jesus just didn’t come down in a flying saucer as an adult. The reason is the incarnation.

The incarnation — the fact that Jesus came in the flesh like the rest of us, born in the poorest of circumstances and the most common of methods — is of extreme importance.

·         The incarnation reveals what is hinted at in the Old Testament. Like the detective explaining the mystery at the end of the book, the incarnation explains many of the prophecies of the Old Testament.

·         It prepares the way for the only truly effective sacrifice for sins. The blood of animals cannot atone for human sins; only human blood can do that. If Christ was not here in bodily form, we are not forgiven.

Therefore, we are commanded to remember the sacrifice made — a sacrifice made possible by the incarnation of Christ through a young woman named Mary.

·         We must remember that this was the plan from the very beginning. It is not something that “just happened.” It is not something that God did because the situation had gotten out of control. No; he planned it this way.

·         We must remember the price that was paid. The human Jesus suffered in great pain for this; the divine Son of God suffered separation from God the Father.

·         We must remember the greatness of the God who did this. His sacrifice was made so that any of us might receive salvation. Any of us — no matter who.

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