Waiting With Mary: An Advent Meditation
This Advent season, the Rev. Lauri Diamond of Redemption Anglican Church contemplates Mary and the life miraculously created in her. Lauri explores how Mary submitted to the Holy Spirit’s work in her physical being—and how Mary’s response to mystery and waiting can inform our own.
By Lauri Diamond
When God’s spirit came upon Mary and conception of the Son of God occurred, heaven opened, and the miracle of life became the miracle of eternal life (Jn 6:40). During Advent, we think of Mary carrying the living Christ in her womb, Mary waiting to meet God in the flesh of her son. But before that happened, Mary had to grapple with some unexpected news.
Scripture tells us that God sent word of His action through Gabriel. The angel visited Mary with the news of the coming incarnation. God had considered young Mary in his plan; he knew Mary was going to carry His son before the creation of the world (Eph 1:4). Thus, it was not a hostile takeover, but a loving intervention.
In response, Mary pondered in her heart what Gabriel told her (Lk 1:29). She didn’t lash out, fall to the ground weeping or run away. She held the news inside herself and wondered about this “strange grace” the angel spoke of (Lk 1:31-33).
God’s grace came with a bombshell for a young virgin. She would become pregnant out of wedlock by the power of the Holy Spirit.
When you receive shocking news, do you wait to see God at work?
My first pregnancy was unplanned. I was a senior in college, in love and not walking with God. It was a rebellious time, and I was devastated when I found out. From the time of that first suspicion, I contemplated, “Why now?” and “Why me?” But I knew that I loved this little life inside of me.
Instead of walking for my graduation, I walked down the aisle and married my love. We decided that the baby was the priority. Thirty-five years and three additional kids later, we are still committed to this stance. This time in my life—our life—has given me compassion and empathy to unplanned pregnancies like Mary’s and a heart to reach out to women before, during and after their choice. I can only imagine what young Mary went through as she explained her pregnancy to her family and community.
How do you respond to girls when they find themselves in this situation? With compassion or judgment?
With all of my pregnancies, I knew exactly how the baby was conceived. When those two individual cells collided and the DNA intertwined, there was life and growth and a new Imago Dei. That alone is a miracle. But the divine conception was different from my conceptions. There was a gentle mystery as the quiet power of the Holy Spirit overshadowed this young girl and a baby was conceived (Lk 1:35): fully God and fully human. The Holy Trinity was at work in Mary’s physical being in a way no other person in the history of the world had experienced. The Word of God lived by the breath of God inside a receptacle of flesh.
Mary waited. Perhaps she waited with apprehension as she held the mystery in her heart and submitted her life to God’s plan.
How do you wait when there is mystery, when you don’t understand what is going on?
Mary waited to meet God the Son and her son, Jesus. Her waiting was active. She traveled to see Elizabeth where Jesus’ deity was affirmed (Lk 1:41), she traveled with Joseph to Bethlehem to fulfill prophecy (Micah 5:2), and she pondered in her heart the meaning of the incarnation.
When I was pregnant with my kids, God knew me inside and out and provided all sorts of activities as our family grew. We became part of church families that stood by us in different cities and communities as we raised our kids. Community and relationships kept us going many times.
Do you wait actively in community, or do you allow anxiety to creep in, establishing a spirit of fear and isolation?
There are no surprises with God. This is a cliché but also a truth. God knew Mary before the creation of the world, before He chose her to bear the Son of glory (Eph 1:4). She saw the Lord in his infant humanity, and she was at the foot of the cross when He died a human death.
Mary lived her life waiting for God. She waited for His incarnation, His birth, His death and His resurrection. Her waiting was fulfilled in the miracle of salvation for all who would believe. Jesus was “a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel” (Luke 2:32).
The Jews were waiting for a savior. Mary was a part of this communal waiting as well, and she believed God when He told her she was to bear the Christ. Many Jews came to faith through Christ, and many continue to wait.
This Advent, as I wait symbolically to celebrate Christ’s incarnation and birth, I also wait expectantly for His second coming, the life everlasting and the resurrection of the body of Christ for all eternity.
How big is your Advent waiting? Do you wait expectantly for something so amazing that it overshadows the daily frustrations of this current existence? Do you allow space for the mystery?
Why did God choose Mary, this fragile and “least of these” vehicle to bear His entry to the world? Why did He choose to come in this most humble form, an infant child? These mysteries I hold in my heart as I wait expectantly to celebrate the birth of our incarnate God.
“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” (Jn 1:14).
How will you wait this season?
The Rev. Lauri Diamond is a deacon serving as Pastoral Director and Missions Pastor at Redemption Anglican Church in Frisco, Texas. Lauri and her husband Tom have four grown children. Lauri just graduated from Dallas Theological Seminary. She loves anything involving creativity, has a passion for reaching out, and thrives on connecting church and community and helping them connect with God.