Just before midnight last night I wander outside to our patio. I make sure all the lights are off because I want to see the night sky. Stars in abundance light the night. I think for a moment of the shepherds keeping watch in their fields long ago. Then, there it is, first one and then a few minutes later a second one—a shooting light in the sky, a quick flash as part of the Geminid shower. Then no more. Just a quick glimpse of wonder.

I wonder as I wander. I am cold now so I watch the sky a bit longer from our kitchen window. It is the end of my prayer time for the prayer vigil for our friend, Shelley. I have been praying for her as I wandered and watched the night sky.

Then I thought of Jesus’ mother, Mary, seeing a similar sky long ago. Wondering, I suppose, about her life since she’d been told she was chosen by God to bear a child. Not just any child, but the child. How frightening, how jarring and strange to have one’s life changed by the word of God.

I think about being frightened, fearful and afraid. How often do we say, “I’m afraid that…” How often do we think it and not say, “I’m afraid of…”  Again I think of Mary as I stare at the night sky through my kitchen window. What if she’d been too fearful to hear God’s word and say, “Okay, God, let’s do this thing?” I suppose God would have found someone else but it turns out that she said, “yes” in the midst of fears and wonderings.

Then I think about fearlessness, about working through fear, trusting that God will bring me through. God has done that before, I remember. I think of the fears with which people have trusted me over the years and give thanks for the ways they moved into their fears and let God heal and strengthen and guide them.

As the night sky turns to dawn and the new day, I wander again to sit in front of the Christmas tree. I think again of Mary and her courage in the midst of great fear. Remembering her song “My soul magnifies the Lord,” I give thanks for the witness of those who let God move them from fear to strength, even using their fear to get them there. Gratitude for all those who have taught me so much washes over me. I include Mary, Jesus’ mother.

You probably know by now that this Sunday, Dec. 16, we’ll encounter Mary and remember how she let God move her fear into a marvelous song.

May the wonder of Advent wash away your fears as you wander through this day.

Advent blessings, Sharon