I recently enjoyed lunch with two great friends. One of them came in from her frantic pre-Christmas prep and said, “I feel like I’m becoming more of a Human Doing than a Human Being.” So in rebellion to that notion, we stayed at the table long past the point of eating. We laughed, and shared, and even teared up a bit (only once). We took time to BE. It was good.
The afternoon has prompted me to ponder Zechariah and Mary. You know the stories from chapter 1 of Luke; when Zechariah is told by an angel that his wife will bear a son (John the Baptist), he sputters back a suspicious question. In response, the angel tells him that he will be struck silent because of his disbelief. Similarly, when Mary is asked to be God’s mother, she questions the angel. However, she is not reprimanded, but gently answered. It hardly seems fair! But let’s consider a key difference: Zechariah has long been begging God for a baby, whereas Mary has not. When Zechariah’s prayers are finally answered, he doubts. When Mary is surprised by God, she wonders. There is a difference in their level of expectant hope. Mary is a woman with great ability to BE. (See Luke 2:19, for example.) Zechariah is in need of some training, so he is given the gift of silence – some time to stop his frantic babbling, so he can to enter into real, deep, trusting relationship with God.
In this season of expectant hope, in this nation so tempted to drown in fear, in this era of convenience, overscheduling, and utility, can we rediscover the art of being? Or will we be forced to do so by a Father who loves us?