Second Thursday in Advent - December 13th
There was a movie I remember from long ago titled The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman. In short, the movie consisted of the recalled experiences of an African American woman that began in slavery and continued through the civil rights movement. As I read and thought about today’s readings, I was reminded that throughout the film when Miss Jane would hold a new born baby, she would whisper to the child “is you the one?”—the one who would, like Moses, lead the community to real freedom. As Elizabeth calls out to Mary I see that she, like Miss Jane, walked in a faith that allowed her to see the bright promise of a new day coming.
The story of Elizabeth’s greeting Mary is so familiar to us all that we don’t stop to think of what is implied in the faith of both Elizabeth and Mary. As good people of faith and parents, they realized that the joy of this birth will be quickly overshadowed by the enormity of the task that lay ahead.
As the Miss Jane movie continues there was a child born who the community believed was ‘the one’. The community worked hard to teach him and guide him so that he would grow to be a great leader. However, as the child grew to a man instead of becoming involved in the Church he became involved in politics and civil rights, which in the end, caused his untimely death. As the movie drew to a close, there was an iconic scene where Miss Jane, after a lifetime of abiding by strict Jim Crow laws, courageously takes a sip of water from the fountain marked, For Whites Only.
When I think about our readings for today and the movie Miss Jane, I reflect on the work that is necessarily involved in the commitment to ‘walk in faith’. More than just words or prayers it also means trusting in God to give us all the strength and courage we need to do the work of faith: to feed the hungry, to fight for the powerless, in short, to do what is right. As we anxiously await the birth of Jesus on Christmas let’s remember that the birth of Christ is not just the end of our faithful wait, but the renewal of our commitment to walk and work in faith.