Maybe that’s what Mary first heard: the whisper of angel wings. Then the news -- the Holy Spirit.
“What have I done?” she asks on nights that were moonless and that felt cold to her when she was travelling… on the journey to be with Elizabeth or on the way into Bethlehem. Not hard to imagine how a young girl – likely a teenager – pregnant and unmarried, would be seen and treated and how’d she’d experience the world. “Must I walk this path alone in a cold-as-stone world?”, she might well have felt.
"I’m not good enough, wise enough. How can I get through this? How can I hold it all together?"
What would her silent prayer be, I wonder.
And what would your prayer be in the silence of a time when you feel like that?
Mary’s experience was one-of-a-kind, unique and singular. It's nothing like yours or mine. She is the mother of Jesus, after all.
Still, I do suspect you and I can identify with a feeling such as this “cold-as-stone-world”. I’m sure we’ve all asked, “How can I get through this,” whatever that may have been or even be. We’ve all asked, “How can I hold it together,” in one manner or another. That part of what Mary was going through touches, in a very deep way, the kinds of things we face along a journey of life and journey of faith. We have Mary as an example and with her we have such a great cloud of witnesses.
Thanks to Mary, in the midst of any darkness, there always will be light. For us, the light in the darkness is her son – ‘the Son of God, Jesus the Christ, Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace’. He is the light in the darkness and he always will be the light in whatever darkness you experience. It was on this very holy night that his light first came into the world.
Through him we learn about hope. We learn about compassion, about love, forgiveness, and peace.
Hush now and listen… for the angels.
The angels will tell you.
They’ll tell you by the flutter of their wings and by the small breath of heaven they send your way. They’ll always tell you that you are lovable and that you are loved. You are forgivable and you are forgiven. There is peace for you. There is hope. You are not alone. There is light for you no matter what the darkness may be. You are worthy and you do matter. Angels are watching over you. You may know some of them. “Do not be afraid,” they’ll tell you. “You are not alone.”
They’ll tell you something more too, I think. They’ll say that they’re just a hint of the breath of heaven.
They’ll tell you that the breath of heaven is something more than the flutter of angel wings. It’s the Holy Spirit and more again since the Holy Spirit binds the Father and the Son together with it. That’s the breath of heaven. The breath of heaven is around you forever. It’s what holds you together… always and forever.
And one more thing that I’m sure they’re telling you is for you to remember all what they have said when you are waiting… and in the silence of your prayer.
(c) 2018 W. Glenn Empey