Summary: Mary was given a vocation: a Christmas vocation. She was given a sacred assignment to prepare God’s son. What did she teach Jesus? What does this mean for us?
Mary’s Christmas Vocation
December 23, 2007
Mary was given a sacred assignment. She was given a vocation: a sacred task to do for God. For this is what a vocation is: a sacred assignment.
Vocation: a sacred assignment
Everyone has a vocation. Mary’s was a Christmas vocation. No Christmas vacation for Mary. Her sacred task was to prepare God’s son. Can you imagine what an awesome responsibility that is? We tremble at raising our own children but God’s son? No wonder the nations would call her blessed.
Just remember that vocation is more than a job although your job can be your vocation. Speaking of jobs, I have picture that I want to show you of a cake ordered at Wal-mart. This actually did happen. Kinda weird isn’t it.
This was a cake for an employee that was leaving her job as an insurance claims adjuster. Here’s how the phone call to order the cake went:
“Dis’ iz duh Wal-mart bakery?”
“I’d like to order a quarter sheet chocolate cake.”
“And on it. I would like an inscription.”
“Ok. Wha’ you want on it?”
“’Best Wishes Suzanne.’ And underneath that, ‘We will miss you.’”
As we rediscover Christmas, we have looked at Zechariah and Elizabeth, their son John, and Joseph. Each of them played at part in preparing the way of Jesus. And in a sense this is what following Jesus is about. We follow his ways, his Shema of loving God and loving others, in order to prepare ourselves and others for his abiding presence. All the things that Jesus calls us to do in the Sermon on the Mount are designed to prepare us for God’s kingdom that is arriving as we walk in God’s ways.
Mary also prepared the way for Jesus. So let’s take a closer look at her.
Who was Mary?
1. Mary was poor.
Mary was a part of the poor crowd called the Anawim: the pious poor. These people suffered because they were poor. Mary’s song is the gospel before the gospel. It has as part of it the recognition that God has heard the cries of the poor for justice, mercy, & compassion. God has heard their cries for redemption and has answered it through a miraculous child.
Mary’s song is the cry of a very young girl, a young teenager, that has no rights and is locked into a system that oppresses the poor. Not only that it is a song of release. She has heard what the angel has said and recognized that she now will be labeled an adulteress. Her life, what little of it that she had, will now be completely undone. Her future is uncertain but she still trusts in the Mighty One and the future that God is bringing through her child.
This means that although Mary was poor, an Anawim, she had hope.
2. Mary had hope.
Mary’s song is announcing a social revolution. She was putting Herod the Great on notice. She was putting Caesar on notice. They will be dealt with by God. Unlike Herod, Mary’s son will rule with mercy and justice.
Mary, who was given a sullied reputation and was poor, has a hope that God, who is the Mighty One (All-Powerful), is fulfilling the promises that God had made to His people so long ago. God uses Mary despite her past and despite the odds that are against her to prepare His son. Mary knew her own wounds, but she also knew that God was about to heal those wounds with a sacred assignment: a vocation.
3. Mary was given a vocation.
We also are given a vocation with our past and our wounds intact so that all can see us and see what God can do. Even Jesus would be resurrected with the scars intact.
Mary’s vocation as already mentioned was to prepare God’s son. She was being called to nurture not only Jesus but several other children as well. Tradition has it the Joseph died when Jesus was very young so Mary was also given the task of teaching Jesus and the other children the ways of God. Mary’s song gives a glimpse of some of the things that Mary would impart to her kids.
She blesses the holy Name of God and asks God to fill those who are hungry. Jesus would teach his disciples to pray asking God to “hallow His name” and to pray for “our daily bread.” As Mary is a widow, Jesus prays for widows and has a special place in his heart for widows just a God has indicated through the prophets. Mary prays that the unjust rulers would be brought down and Jesus regularly confronts leaders and rulers especially religious leaders are are supposed to see that justice is done but they are not. These rulers have chosen to make a spectacle of themselves and elevate themselves by stepping on the poor.