St. Paul can rightly be called the first voice for the coming of Christ. We speak of the Christ child, but it was the person of Jesus who was born at Bethlehem. Jesus as the Christ came to be call or known at or after his resurrection. Jesus was proclaimed ‘messiah’ after his resurrection, when his disciples realized that this is who their leader was and finally got what he had been saying to them. [Or now believing who he was, infused their gospel accounts of his life with the words and sayings that would tell the world what they saw and now believed.]
It is no stretch of the imagination then to say that Paul is an artisan of Advent, an artisan for the coming of Christ. For to each community that he founded and preached to his was the message that brought the Christ-life to those people.
To speak of Mary, the mother of Jesus, as the co-creator with the Spirit of God, is to acknowledge her own art, the art of the spirit’s fidelity to the sacred that she would, before all else, make manifest to the world.
Mary’s let it be is the creative and life affirming response that marks all of sacred scripture, including the letters of St. Paul. From a woman who calls herself a handmaiden, by her let it be she becomes co-creator with the Lord of Life, open, responsive and receptive to the sacred spirit that overarches our finitude to bring about that which is no longer bound by time. At the moment of Jesus’ conception eternity entered the world and became available to all. For Paul to live in Christ is now our ever available opening to infinity and beyond. Today and every day, with the fidelity of each new sunrise, is the echoing fidelity of the Lord of Life who brought life out of a manger, beyond a cross, and into the gardens of our lives.
Be it child or image, painting or poem or the life lived authentically in response to the sacred spirit hovering over the waters of this world, we, like Mary, give faithful worship to that same spirit in each new day, in each new creation we bring forth, ever open and attendant to its advent. With each new day we have within us the enduring capability to fashion and give form to the Word become flesh.