Sunday, December 21, 2008

Mission Impossible

" For nothing is impossible with God." Luke 1:37

We had spent hours yesterday cleaning out around the car parked on the street only to find it plowed in during the night by some helpful town employee who was only doing their job. Before leaving, our youngest daughter's friends help with some of the massive effort. They had to be on their way but they were a great help. Snow is one of those odd natural phenomenons. As children, we ache for it so that we can stay out of school and play in it. My girls had several rituals they did the night before an impending snow. The one I remember most clearly is that they would wear the pajamas inside out. Somehow that always brought them good luck. Another tradition I heard about is the flushing of an ice cube down the toilet. This is suppose to bring on the snow and assure the day off from school.The college students who were staying with us all go to schools in the south and so have little chance to play in the snow. And yet, there is also the massive effort it can take to free a car. And then there are the cleared spaced wars - someone obliviously stealing a parking space that another person has spent hours clearing. Some people resort to putting lawn chairs in the spaces they have cleared. How quickly the beautiful and much anticipated becomes a challenge, a competition, or even worse, a nightmare.

Mary was a young teenager. She had hopes and dreams for her life as any young woman does. She was engaged, so she had some future stability and her family was supportive. She was careful and devout, full of life and ignited with the love and hopefulness that the very young have in abundance. In one moment everything changed. All that she had hoped for and anticipated had changed in a flash. She had dreamed of being a mother and a wife. But now God's angel was telling her that mother was going to happen immediately and that she was going to be responsible for no less than the son of God. A great honor. A terrifying challenge. She knew motherhood was challenging and caring for children was a great responsibility. But how do you prepare yourself to care for the Savior of the world? And how to explain it to her parents, to Joseph, let alone to herself? She knew people would think she was crazy. She had no idea how hard the challenges ahead would be. And in accepting God's will for her, she could not know how impossible some of the days ahead were going to be. Her beautiful gift from God, this overwhelming challenge that she alone would bear, also brought with it some treacherous and nightmarish times. She was not to return home, after Bethlehem, for years. How often, one wonders, did she rehearse the words of the angel that night? " For nothing is impossible with God."

In the midst of huge challenges -weather, economic, personal, familial, and so forth - we hear the words of the angel on this last Sunday of Advent. " Nothing is impossible with God." Even when we are challenged beyond our capacity, at wit's end, God promises the impossible - to see us through just as the angel promised Mary. She faced incredibly hard times but she was never alone. Her heart broke over and over, yet she was never without comfort and assurance. And she was put in impossible circumstances and yet God found her a way through. So today, I want to be like Mary, who in the face of impossible circumstances, says to the angel, "I am the Lord's servant, may it be to me as you have said." I want to be God's servant by accepting the circumstances I find myself in and rejoicing in God's presence and direction in my life. I want to, like Mary, take on the role God has given me, and trust that God goes with me. God goes with all of us. I invite us today, to accept God's offer, no matter how impossible it seems right now. We are promised that the impossible will become possible with God.

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