At this moment in Luke’s narrative, Mary has given birth in a stable to her first-born. The angels have announced the Savior’s birth, declaring that he has been born and laid, improbably, in a manger. The shepherds have found him and told Mary and Joseph all that the angels had said. Everyone “marvels,” but Mary also “ponders.” The word in Greek, sumballousa, means to bring together, to draw things together. Luke describes Mary’s pondering like the activity of a storyteller who weaves together disparate, unexpected, surprising things.
An image in the late ancient Christian tradition for Mary’s role in the Incarnation is of her flesh as a loom on which the body of God is woven. Her womb becomes the space where the finite and infinite, the human and divine, are seamlessly knit together.
In this moment of contemplation described by Luke, Mary again becomes a weaver, interlacing events, announcements, experiences, to create a new, unexpected whole. She does not understand everything that has happened. She must measure, draw together all of it and thus find her place in the scheme of these things, recognize the fullness of her child’s identity is and know who she is in relation to a God who is both announced from without and yet who is birthed within and by her and will continue to be raised by her in an uncertain future.
While God here takes on human form, Paul speaks of the mystery of being conformed to Christ. Those who love God collaborate with God in what he calls “synergy” to forge a new creation. Because God is, as with Mary, within and without creation, God is within the destiny of believers insofar as they open up space within for Christ (Rom 10:8; Eph 3:17), increasingly woven into the life of God and God into their lives.
Theology and Religious Studies
Advent comes from the Latin word, adventus – an arrival or a coming. In the context of the season, Advent means that the Lord is coming. Read more of the Advent introduction...
First Week of Advent
Second Week of Advent
Third Week of Advent
Fourth Week of Advent