A good friend of mine used to tell me that if the rapture happened I could have his lawnmower. I don’t want to get into a discussion about pre-millennial, post-millennial, non-millennial, super-sized millennial, vegetarian millennial (A belief that Jesus will come back and save people from having to eat any more Brussels sprouts.), “Cubs-millenial” (A belief that Jesus won’t come again before the Cubs win the World Series. Which might as well be a thousand years!)
Regardless of your position on the second coming, I pondered it this Advent season quite often. Usually it was as I passed in front of a nativity scene in our church building, because Mary has been missing! If she was raptured it means that figurines are getting ahead of humans in the “exit lane”.
The interesting thing for our church is that very few people noticed. The mother of Jesus comes up missing and the scene still looks the same to people. Granted this nativity set was on the floor, below eye level, but not even any of the children noticed.
It gives a different bent to “single-parenthood”. Joseph’s figurine suddenly looks a little bewildered, a little dazed.
Of course, there has been numerous attempts in recent years to kidnap Mary out of Christmas anyway. She doesn’t fit well in the “happy holidays” push. Store employees are a little awkward about saying “Happy holidays and how about that Mary?”
This year I heard that a group of people were trying so hard to get Christmas out of the vocabulary of the season that they re-did the lyrics to some songs. It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Thursday didn’t really catch on like they hoped. The Twelve Days of Winter was a little slow also.
A city in Washington renamed their parade for this month to the “Twinkle Light Parade”. I’m assuming that Mary didn’t show up on a float there either.
Back to us! Mary’s missing! There’s a space in the floor-covered hay. Next year it could spread to the shepherds.
This is not a plea to rescue Christmas. There’s been no ransom demand of any substance so far. God doesn’t need Christmas rescued, or even Mary (especially if she’s already been raptured).
It’s more of a call to see, to think about, to live out, and to proclaim the story of the incarnate God. It’s to notice when things start coming up missing in the season. It’s just too easy to let the miracle in the midst of the humanity disappear. It’s too easy to lose track of the details- like men on camels traveling long, long distances to see Jesus… or angels appearing to “average Joe” shepherds… or Zechariah going mute for nine months as a sign that God had appeared to him…or…should I go on?
For our church “Missing Mary” is a humorous little side story that is raising our awareness of how easy it is to lose the essence of the event. As word has spread about the missing mother of Jesus it’s raised our Christmas consciousness. Perhaps we’re even a little more sensitized to the elements of this season as a result of it.
Oh…and by the way! If anyone has seen Mary, please let us know. Sorry, no monetary reward, but alleviating the bewildered and dazed look on Joseph’s face will assuredly bring some gratification to you.