Headlines from First Thoughts

Friday, December 04, 2009

If Elizabeth & Mary Wrote Carols for Advent

Unlike the modern conventions of baby showers, nursery renovation, and birthing classes, the conceptions in Luke were greeted with isolation and withdrawal. When Elizabeth learned she was expecting a baby, she left town for 5 months. Mary withdrew to Elizabeth's home for a retreat.

This pattern hardly fits the carols of the season. We urge people to "come" as the faithful, and we sing of halls that are decked with holly. If the women of Luke's Gospel could rewrite the titles, the carols of Christmas might be:

"O Run Away all Ye Faithful"
"Silent Night, Lonely Place, Zechariah sure has a Funny Look on his Face"
"Go, Flee to the Mountains, Over the Hills and Everywhere."

Their withdrawal had a purpose. Out of isolation and silence, Elizabeth emerged to greet a teenager standing on her doorstep.

Before we run to the manger with the joy of the shepherds, we need to withdraw. Who knows which relative might greet us when we emerge with the surprising news of Advent?
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