The song, “Mary Did You Know?”, led to a discussion after Eucharist on Christmas Eve. What did Mary really know? Those of us in discussion believe that Mary knew a general “outline” of what was going to happen and who this special child was who came into her life miraculously. But, the specifics of what was to be were revealed to her over time. How else, we reasoned, would his “being lost” in the Temple come to her as a surprise — or the statement, “Did you not know that I must be about my Father’s business?”
As a new year begins, we have a general outline of what is to unfold — and even some specific events are scheduled — a trip January 4th, a wedding January 21st, another wedding February 17, a summer vacation trip July 8th, on and on and on …. but most of what is to be — is unknown to us. And, even though there are events on the calendar, full knowledge of what is to happen at those events is yet to be revealed.
Imagine a H-U-G-E tree in your front yard — and under the tree are 365 boxes. All the boxes are wrapped well — some better than others, but all are well wrapped. The boxes are of different sizes and shapes — adding to the mystery of what is within. For, we all know that a small box might actually contain a more valuable present than a much larger box.
Well, think of the tree as the year 2017. And the boxes under the tree are the 365 days of the year. As a new year begins — that is what is before us — 365 gifts.
There is a clear reminder to us though — we can only open one box per day — and the box to be opened must be the box prescribed for that day. It is not fair — or possible — to try and open July 2nd on January 2nd — July 2nd must be opened on July 2nd — no matter how tempting it might be to jump ahead. What is prescribed for that day, must be lived that day —- for on the 8th day following his birth, as was prescribed by the law, the child Jesus was circumcised.
Mary — the mother of God — allowed life to unfold before her — treasuring in her heart, pondering in her heart and mind — with faith — what was happening around her.
Hopefully we will be blessed to open all 365 gifts in front of us in this new year. We are taught early on in life that we should “live one day at a time” — and in reality, that is all we can do. What we choose — is to live it fully, half-heartedly, or with barely interest. We can choose to ignore the gift in front of us — and to waste it carelessly.
In faith, I trust that that what the Lord said to Moses is true for you and for me:
The Lord will bless us and keep us.
The Lord will let his face shine upon us.
The Lord will be gracious to us.
The Lord will look upon us kindly and give us peace.
We can look to the Lord everyday and call out “Abba” — father. For, we are sons and daughters of a loving God — not a slave to a tyrant god.
Regardless of what has happened in 2016, God — Emmanuel — has been with each of us and has brought us to this place and to this time.
As 2017 unfolds — see the gift of today and the hope for tomorrow. See those 365 boxes under the tree and treasure each and everyone of them.