I imagine Mary thought about what this moment was going to be like a million times. She had it all planned out. She would be with her sister and the midwife from down the street. She would wrap him in the blanket her mother had made. But instead Jesus was born while they were there, in the straw, in Bethlehem, and she was ripping up a good clean tunic to keep him warm for the night.
Mary had to let go of all of those other dreams and expectations. In Richard Rohr’s words, she had to forgive her life for what it was. She had to be right where she was, not diverting any of her precious presence from this place and its people.
If there is to be space for love to be born in our lives, we might also have to let go of our own dreams and expectations. We will also have to forgive our lives for what they are. We will have to make do with what we have rather than wish for something else.
When I wake up in the morning, I want nothing more than uninterrupted quiet to enjoy my first cup of coffee. But usually, far before I am ready for it, I hear my young son’s feet hit the floor and his door swinging open from across the hall. Soon he’ll barge in demanding my attention and I’ll have a choice to make: I can curse under my breath, exasperated that he has “ruined” my morning. I can resent his presence and push him away.
Or I can surrender to him as the blessed interruption he is, taking a deep breath and embracing his noisy, wiggling body, and giving him my full attention.
I am always so glad when I choose the second. When I choose love.
How might you let go of your expectations and embrace where you are and who you are with today?
Lord, help me to forgive my life for what it is, so that I might find love right where I am. Amen.
This post originally appeared in Reflections: Daily Devotional Guide volume 33.1.