The Beauty of Feminism
The Beauty of Advent Pt 4
This year has been filled with sorrow. From politics, to news, to allegations, to personal issues—mourning and lament have been top priorities. And yet there have been two things that have brought me constant hope: first is Jesus, more on that later, and the second has been feminism.
I always thought feminism was the f-word of Christian culture. But for the past couple of years I have found a deeply ingrained equality seeping from the Gospels. This year particularly I have been studying Mary, and I have noticed parts of her story that I had never given much thought to before. I have heard her story the same way my entire life. There was no new secret diary unearthed, no social media account to follow the journey, just four sparse accounts of this miracle.
Mary’s story is one of options. Options I never saw before this year. Part of me kind of felt bad for Mary, pregnant with the Messiah out of wedlock, young and without a choice. But that is what I have always read into the story, it is not how the story actually goes. The truth is Mary could have said no to the angel. Mary had the power of consent.
I used to think all this poor girl wanted to do was marry her man and participate in the tradition of her culture. To simply be married off to a man who was going to make all the decisions for her. But the Angel did not appear to Joseph or Mary’s father to ask for permission to change her future forever. The Angel went to Joseph after Mary accepted the invitation to host the Incarnation in her womb. Mary made her own choices and God empowered her to think for herself.
Mary had authority over her body and her life. Mary was God’s choice to mother the Savior of the world. Mary would be the most influential woman in Jesus’ life. She was strong and brave and accepted the societal consequences of a divine proposition.
And then there is Jesus—the radical hope of all mankind. The Babe in the straw grew up to be the Man who saw women as people, stood up for them, talked to them, and ultimately redeemed them. He continually saw the Father’s image in people who needed dignity restored, and oh so often it was women whom he protected, built up, and gave authority.
This year has been a tough one for a lot of people, folks I know and those I do not, but this Advent I can assure you that there is hope in Christ. As I delve more into what feminism means for me, a single woman in the church who is trying to follow Jesus, I look to Mary and the Baby she chose, who grew into a man who just might be my favorite feminist for the way forward.