On this Christmas Eve I am thinking about Mary. And I’m silently begging, as I have all Advent long, for the preachers and teachers who will work all this night to get Mary right. Or at least, to not get her wrong.
Maybe it’s because it’s Year A* and we still see little wrong with a liturgical practice that all but erases a birth mother every third year.
Maybe because we need the church, now more than ever, to stand up and say “God doesn’t rape.”
Maybe because I’ve felt the tug of the gravity of a child and the temptation to slip under and behind one, to allow my identity to be subsumed. To disappear into mothering and have my songs of faith, strength and revolution ignored.
Maybe because I’ve sat through too many Christmas seasons where the only time Mary is mentioned is when someone sings a song pondering her perceived ignorance of what God asked her, and what she said yes to.
But whatever the reason, I’m asking now.
If you haven’t done so yet this year, mention Mary. And when you talk about Mary, talk about her as a human. Not as a disembodied uterus, not as a mere servant, not as a meek virgin.
Let her have her body, broken.
Let her have her blood, shed.
Let her keep her labor, her sweat, her fever as her body staved off any infection that may have tried to take her after birthing in a manger.
Let her be seen, along with Christ and the angels and shepherds and Joseph and Charlie Brown.
Let the Incarnation be every inch of its miracle, including the guts and the milk and the helplessness of Godself thrust into the arms of two exhausted and terrified and elated humans.
We don’t celebrate God Alone on this night, we celebrate God With Us.
And God-With-Us had company, including a mother.
There isn’t a tidy end to this. All I know is that too many times, I’ve been asked to show up in worship as a disembodied woman, and it would be truly awesome for the church to name, name, name that even God gets consent first. And that mothers of all kinds are not asked or expected to disappear.
*Year A is the name for the current part of the cycle of the Common Lectionary, a calendar used by some Christians that guides the church’s path through Scripture. Many churches use the Lectionary, many do not. It happens that this year in the cycle, Mary is all but absent from the chosen Scripture readings for the season.