“And why has this happened to me?” Elizabeth asked. We’ve all asked. Mary asked it in her own way – How can this be? Those are familiar questions, especially when something goes wrong. Job loss or difficulties, health concerns, family struggles. Why me? How could this happen?
In Sunday’s gospel readings (Luke 1:26-38 will be read in The Well; Luke 1:39-55 will be read in the sanctuary) the questions come from a different perspective, one we’d do well to embrace more frequently. Just as Elizabeth was overwhelmed by being in the Lord’s presence, even if he was still in Mary’s womb, we might hear an anthem, join in a hymn, listen intently to an organ voluntary, sit quietly and connect with God’s Spirit, feel and taste Christ in Communion and ask, “Why me? Of all the people in the world and all the moments it hasn’t happened for me, why is God’s presence so real and immediate and intimate for me in this moment? Why me?”
Of course what the question is really about is not trying to find an answer, as much as exclaim joy and wonder. “Why am I so blessed by this grace?” is not far from “This grace that blesses confounds me beyond words,” which isn’t much different than, “Wow, God!” – true praise, indeed.
These are days when our “Why me’s?” born of struggle can be counter-balanced with our “Why me’s?” of praise and thanksgiving. Join us Sunday morning for the first of two days of worship (Christmas Eve services are Monday at 4 and 6 p.m.), days when God doesn’t wait for a reasonable explanation or some semblance of worthiness to make a gracious appearance, days when God shows up and a child leaping in a womb or a mother’s song of amazement or our own expression of wonder and thanksgiving are all the right responses to his gracious appearing.