This past Sunday we looked at Mary’s response to receiving the news that her life was about to drastically and dramatically change. It was a three-fold response starting with astonishment. Astonishment that someone so unremarkable, so ordinary, would be the recipient of such incredible grace. A grace that would change her life. She then wrestled with what this meant as it seemed impossible and her wrestling with God’s truth led to her place of acceptance. Acceptance was not a passive response, rather it was an act of surrender. And her wrestling with this happened in community with the friendship of her cousin, Elizabeth. By working through these various stages, Mary’s response was one of adoration, or worship. But she needed to process. She needed to ask questions. She needed the support of someone who could walk alongside her.

Sometimes it is difficult to know how to respond to what is happening around us and to see where God is at work. But, as Henri Nouwen says “True joy is hidden where we are the same as other people: fragile and mortal. It is the joy of belonging to the human race. It is the joy of being with others as a friend, a companion, a fellow traveller. This is the joy of Jesus, who is Emmanuel: God-with-us.”

We have the unique privilege of being in a faith community together. We journey through some dark valleys and see some glorious sunrises together. We do so because we are brothers and sisters in Christ and, because we have the wonderful reassurance that Jesus was, is and forever will be God-with-us. Because we have this wonderful assurance that we don’t have to face life alone, we can offer our adoration, our gift of joy, despite what circumstances or situations we find ourselves facing. As you reflect on Mary’s response, how might God want to speak to you today? And what does it take, for you, to be able to say “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour.” (Luke 1:46-47)