Willing to live in the questions...

“To be a Christian does not mean knowing all the answers; 

to be a Christian means being willing to live 
in the part of the self where the question is born.”

Wendy M. Wright (words spoken to her by a Trappist retreat master – in her book: The Vigil: Keeping Watch in the Season of Christ’s Coming"

As you enter into this Advent season do you have unanswered questions and longings?

You're not alone.

I'm pretty sure unwed and pregnant Mary, as she traveled with Joseph from Nazareth toward Bethlehem by decree of the Roman census, didn't have a lot of answers. And when it came time for them to have the baby and they were far from home and family and all that was familiar to them, finding only a smelly stable for shelter, I'm sure they had a lot of stressful and urgent questions. And when the shepherds, led by a glorious pronouncement from a choir of Heavenly Hosts showed up after Jesus' birth to see this spectacle...I'm sure Mary and Joseph were not a little curious about all that was unfolding before their eyes.

We don't hear the questions - but Luke tells us of Mary's response:

"But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart." (Luke 2:19)

Mary, it seems, had the ability to capture the moments, unanswerable questions and all, and make space in her heart to ponder all that was being given. She didn't rush past it. She didn't demand (or run to google) the answers. She didn't fast-forward to the future to figure out how to manage and find solutions to their current predicament.

The Greek word for "pondered" is sumballo - "or to give careful consideration to various implications of an issue—‘to reflect on, to think about seriously, to think deeply about.'" Johannes P. Louw and Eugene Albert Nida, vol. 1, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament : Based on Semantic Domains, electronic ed. of the 2nd edition. (New York: United Bible societies, 1996), 349.

The Greek word for "treasured" is suntereo - it means to cause oneself to be continuously fully aware of, guard, keep in mind, preserve. 

To be a follower of Christ does not mean we necessarily have all (or many) of the answers...but it is an invitation to do what it takes to intentionally "cause oneself to be continuously aware," to capture life's moments and make space in our hearts and our days to live into the mysterious, inward crevices of our lives from where our deepest questions are birthed.

As you enter into this Holyday season, what are some of your deeper questions in life?

Now listen more deeply: Ask, "Lord, what do these unanswered questions say about my heart? My soul? My longings? My needs?"

Advent is a season which invites us to expectantly ponder, treasure, and live into the deeper places from whence our questions are formed. Whether or not you find answers, may you find a peace that passes all understanding as you cause yourself to be continuously aware this season...

Mary - truly a patron saint for the unhurryupians!