Misfit Mary, Quite Contrary
Last night, one of my confirmation students made a startling discovery.
Mary, the mother of Jesus, was just about, or exactly, her age when the angel revealed what Mary carried inside.
I love that. It never gets old--that look of insight, the jaw drop, the Oprah “ah-ha” moment. Mary could have been me. My age. In middle school. That’s nuts.
Even more unbelievable is what Mary said in the face of this life-changing news. In the spirit of Hannah, Mary declared: “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.” Talk about surprising. Contrarian, even. A young girl, faced with news that would sink a ship, and she has the gumption to praise God anyway. Misfit Mary, quite contrary.
I’m in a contrary mood these days—but not because I’m about to burst into song. I’m two tender weeks into a major loss. My mom died the day after Thanksgiving, and for reasons I don’t understand I can’t make it through Target without bursting into tears. It’s not the Grinch who lives inside, resenting other people’s happiness or holiday festivity. I just wish they weren’t so loud, so ubiquitous, so that I could buy my groceries in peace without hearing Bing Crosby longing for home.
Advent is for such ones: for all those who find themselves in the gaps between what was, what is, and what could be. You’re not alone, if that’s where you are this year. In a contrary place.
I’m with you, for one. And I think Misfit Mary stands with us. And those sisters, joy and sorrow, join us too.
Who knows? We all might just praise God, anyway.