Advent Devotional - December 21
And that is what the soldiers did. Meanwhile, standing near the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, “Woman, here is your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home.
Why is this bloody, heart-wrenching scene from the crucifixion included here, now, as we celebrate with joy the coming of the Light into the world? Much of Jesus’ life was messy, so maybe this is not so out-of-place.
John refers to four women present at the foot of the cross with the “beloved disciple” (likely John himself): Mary, the mother of Jesus; her sister (perhaps Salome, the mother of James and John); Mary, the wife of Clopas; and Mary Magdalene. Jesus’ other followers were in hiding.
At this intimate moment during his public agony, Jesus leaves the support and protection of his mother to John. As Mary had tenderly cared for the infant Jesus, now he, as her duty-bound caretaker, gives his widowed mother the gift of care in her later years. Appointing John as her new guardian, he makes provision for the person who nurtured his humanity. God created the family of Joseph, Mary, and infant Jesus. Jesus then creates a new familial bond and protection for Mary when she needs it most, while John gains Mary’s maternal wisdom and loving care.
A family is made of those who celebrate with us, grieve with us, and make time and space in their lives for us. Whether formed by birth or by choice, family relationships offer us comfort and renewal.
O Creator, thank you for the gift of family in many forms. Remind us to daily surround one another in a circle of love and care. Amen.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lisa Johnson became a member in 1985. She met her husband, Michael, at PHPC and they have two sons. She is currently the Moderator of the Deacons, in the Sanctuary Ringers, the Wednesday Women’s Fellowship, and serves as an usher.
today's act of kindness
Subtract one thing from your day today- and use the extra quiet time to pray for people who are vulnerable because of physical or mental illness.