Mary's Dependent

For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given,
    and the government will be on his shoulders.

 

Mary had to do everything for Jesus. Wash him, feed him, change his diaper. She had to think for him so he wouldn’t get hurt. Plan for him so he wouldn’t go hungry. Pray for him to grow in his faith. 

Picture that: like any good mother, Mary prayed for her son. And when she did, she prayed to … her son. 

There are many paradoxes in the Christmas story. Today, consider this one: God took the form of a baby who was completely dependent. He came as an infant who needed people to do everything for him. And yet, he came to a people who was utterly dependent on him. Once he outgrew his mother’s doting, he did for humankind the one thing we couldn’t do for ourselves. 

The God capable of anything became a baby capable of nothing to effect the rescue only he was capable of providing. 

And receiving the Christ child means acknowledging our incapacity. Hilary of Poitiers taught that every Christian must be constantly vigilant against what he called irreligiosa solicitudo pro Deo — a blasphemous anxiety to do God’s work for him. We so easily fall into the trap of thinking we can minister without him, parent without him, lead without him, live without him. During Advent, we celebrate that Jesus came on a rescue mission. So we must ready our hearts by acknowledging our need of rescue.