Click for audio: The Call of Christmas
And Mary said to the angel, “How shall this be, since I have no husband?” And the angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God” (Luke 1:34-35).
In this text, Mary was responding to the angel Gabriel who had just announced to her that she was pregnant and would give birth to a very special son. Much has been made of this touching story that followed a similar announcement to Mary’s cousin, Elizabeth, foretelling the birth of John the Baptist. While the story plays a prominent role in our traditional Christmas narrative, we should not overlook the spiritual significance as it relates to our own spiritual awakening.
An angel represents a messenger from God. While we may be tempted to think of angels as heavenly beings that appear from the clouds, we would do well to consider them as an intuitive prompting that stirs from the depths of our being. God is the invisible, Creative Life Force in which we live and move and have our being. Most of us are so preoccupied with the visible aspects of our life that we continually look to the visible for guidance. The underlying reality that is God is perpetually asserting itself into our consciousness. We sense the presence of God as the desire for greater freedom. This desire is the angel Gabriel announcing the birth of this “holy child” that is our soul.
Mary’s bewildered response, that she has no husband, represents the common belief that something in us is lacking, that we are not yet spiritually mature enough to conceive this “holy child.” Our logic would send us back to that endless evolutionary path where the spiritual awakening forever remains little more than a pipe dream.
Mary is portrayed as a common young girl who loves God. She is that intuitive part of you and me that responds in complete submission to this heavenly announcement, our Gabriel’s call of Christmas, that the freedom we seek comes from within.