Mary was a distant figure for me before having children. As a child she was the part in the nativity I never got to play (my short brown hair meant that I always lost out to my long blond-haired friends). As an adult, to me she was the venerated saint of Catholics, whose hailing brought a comfort I did not understand. I knew she was important, but I could not relate to her.
When is it okay to start listening to Christmas music? This is not a trick question—I am not the worship police, but I am very aware that we Christians can be particularly judgy about music. For years, I, too, did not want to acknowledge Christmas music in Advent, not least because I love Advent and its hymns (“Comfort, Comfort Ye My People!”).
The name Lucy means light. She is a light, but more importantly she points us to the light of Christ. In the literal darkness we face every year at this time and in the greater darkness we face in our lives and in the world, Lucy reminds us that the light of Christ shines in the midst of it all, and the darkness does not overcome it.
Mary does not have a gender-reveal party with a surprise color of cake–teenage pregnancy has always been hard–but she does seem to have a wise friend, and having a wise friend seems to make all the difference. I’ve been thinking about wise friends lately.
I know that it is the season of Advent, but Christmas is on my heart and mind. It’s hard to avoid, since, in the words of fictional rock-n-roll legend Billy Mack, “Christmas is all around.” Christmas is on tv, in stores, in our email boxes, and of course, we’re inundated with holiday musical classics.
There is so much I hoped to do during this Advent, for my own kids, for the children and families in my ministry, and yes, for myself. And as always, come Christmas morning, some of it will have to be put away with vague hopes and promises of next year