Saturday, December 16, 2006

Advent 14: Moving On

The Annunciation
Henry Ossawa Tanner


I was getting restless a couple of days ago. What happened to the Annunciation and the Magnificat? The Big Stuff? How long were we going to wander around in Isaiah and with John the Baptist? Not that I don't love the beauty and magnificence of Isaiah. But this is turning out to be the slowest Advent ever. So I scrolled ahead and found what I was looking for ~ but it doesn't show up this year until CHRISTMAS EVE.

Well, I'm moving on. I want to look at Annunciation art. I want to think about Mary.

Last year about this time I came to the realization that the Mary we think we know, the demure, humble, and modest young woman of Nazareth, probably bears little resemblance to the real Mary. It seems to me that the Mary so often portrayed in art and music and story may represent the blind misreadings of a patriarchal church of the subsequent 2,000 years more than she does the real girl who found herself in something of a predicament and decided to honor the gift and the challenge.

Just think about the fourteen-year-old young ladies you know and imagine the attitude it would take for them to stand up to parents, fiance', extended family, and friends in Mary's circumstances. Imagine the courage. Imagine the sense of being enfolded into the wildest plan God could imagine and recognizing the pivotal role you are being asked to play. Imagine bearing God's peace and justice into this world.

Imagine the light.

3 comments:

Kathryn said...

Thanks for including the beautiful piece of art! This story has always fascinated me -- only 14 years old but probably much older than her years, by necessity, than the average 14yo today. I often contemplate the effect this had on her and her family and the subsequent journey in that condition in those times, truly amazing.

Cynthia said...

We've been visiting with the same woman again. I've grown tired of little Mary, meek and mild, because that image just doesn't fit with what she had to experience.

jledmiston said...

I watched "Saved" again last night and pondered the Mary in that story too, especially as she wondered about the Biblical Mary. You're right. The artists have gotten in wrong. I wonder if there is a painting of Feisty Mary/Amazingly Strong Mary someplace.