Embodying Advent Series

EMBODYING BORDERLANDS: MARIA’S SONG

Advent Reading:

Luke 1:5-45


Reflection:

The holiday season can be incredibly hard on us. While this time of year is meant to be full of joy and gleeful expectation, our bodies hold memories of the pain and the trauma that this season has often brought to us, our families, and our communities. Even if we don’t personally have a story of pain associated with this season, we likely have close friends or family that do. 

Elizabeth carried disgrace, and the trauma inflicted on her by being shamed by her community, in her body. In her old age she carried the painful knowing of not fulfilling the unjust demands of patriarchy by having a child.

Then the angel shows up. The miracle happens. 

Elizabeth conceives a child, and for 6 months she secludes herself from the people who had shamed her whole life. This gift of a child wasn’t God’s way of reifying the standards of patriarchy, but God’s way of breathing Her creative power and favor into Elizabeth’s body. Elizabeth was forced to carry trauma in her body because of the disgrace heaped on her by her people. Now God had breathed life, and hope, and joy. 

Mary’s visit brought with it the further possibility of joy. God was working creative miracles in their midst to declare, that their bodies were indeed good, and more so than that: their bodies were magical. Mary, conceiving as a virgin, in need of no man. Elizabeth, conceiving in her old age, in need of no one. Their bodies are magical, and God came to affirm this.  

Our bodies are not always kind to us. But our bodies deeply good. This paradox confounds me. But the story of Elizabeth gives me hope, that I can embodying joy even in the midst of the memory of trauma in my body that is associated with this time of year. Hope remains possible, even when the pain blinds us to it. 

Find, either in community like Mary, or in seclusion like Elizabeth, ways to come back to your body this season. Be kind to your body. Love your body. Rejoice in your body. Find ways to let joy fill your body and bring the healing it needs in this season. 

Take time to also tend to your friends and family who are perhaps in need of a sort of angelic visitation this year. How might you embody joy for your people who might not be ready to yet?  

In Strength and Joy,

Michael

Founder & Co-Executive Director