The Gift of Embracing

The sentence jumped right off the page when I read it.
“Father, whatever it is that you have decided to give, we embrace.”
—Jen Pollack Michel, Teach Us to Want
Embrace. It means to hold someone closely in one’s arms, to accept or support willingly and enthusiastically. I think about a young Mary and the angel’s visitation. I would have asked the same question: “How in the world is this going to happen? I’m not sure if you are aware, but I’m a virgin.” In the moment of wonder, to the impossible words of an angel, she replied, “Whatever it is that You have decided to give, I embrace.”
And Joseph troubled to the point of quiet divorce. When he finally slept, the angel spoke in a dream, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife…” When he awoke, his actions spoke louder than words, “Whatever it is that You have decided to give, I embrace.”
Caesar issued a decree sending the very pregnant Mary and her husband Joseph on the long journey to Nazareth. “Father, whatever it is that You have decided to give, I embrace.”
They embrace a baby born in a stable. Shepherds embrace the message of angels. Wise men embrace the journey to see the new born King.
When God calls me to hard things, embrace is not the word I would use to describe my attitude. Acceptance… yes. Obedience… sometimes. But embrace… not often. I’m a lot like the young child stomping off to clean her room letting everyone know I’m obeying but I’m not liking it!
As I approach the manger, I am seeking a sort of gift exchange. I’m wrapping up my attitude of white knuckled acceptance and hoping to never open it again. It doesn’t seem like much of a gift. Not one Jesus would need to open really. But maybe He will. Maybe He will open my gift and do what He does best… redeem it. He’ll take what’s inside and teach me how to embrace His will and His way for me. He’ll show me how to be more like Mary and Joseph. He’ll create in me a heart that responds…
Jesus, whatever it is that You have decided to give, I embrace… Amen.

Stacy Boyer
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