Being Mindful of God Being Mindful of Me

You know that famous story by O’Henry called the Gift of the Magi? On Christmas Eve, Della Young discovers that she has only $1.87 to buy a present for her husband Jim. She visits the nearby shop of a hairdresser who buys Della’s long hair for $20. Della then uses the money to buy a platinum pocket watch chain for Jim’s special watch. When Jim comes home from work that evening, Della admits to him that she sold her hair to buy him the chain. Jim gives Della her present– a set of ornamental combs, which she will be unable to use until her hair grows back out. Della gives Jim the watch chain, and he tells her that he sold the watch to buy the combs.

The power of gifts to demonstrate love is strong. Della loves Jim, and Jim loves Della. It’s obvious. Have you ever received a gift that so clearly demonstrated that power? Once upon a time, my wife, Gwyneth, made me a tie to wear for my seminary graduation with a little matching bowtie and shoes for my little five-month-old son, Oliver. After the graduation, I wore the tie as often as possible. Back then, I had to wear a tie every day. The fabric had a kind of funky pattern and people regularly asked me where I got it. So, I got to say regularly, “My wife made it for me.” They were always impressed. It was a regular opportunity to receive the love of the gift.

Gwyneth was mindful of me for hours as she figured out how to make a tie and carefully stitch it together. And I was mindful of her love every time I wore the tie. The gift made us mindful of one another. The gift reminded us that our minds could be full of love.

Not every gift is so extravagant or so impossible to forget, but the ceremony of gift giving we keep in honor of Jesus’ birth is wonderful because it provides the chance to remember how full our minds could be (and often are) with love.

The gift of God’s love fills the mind (and heart and soul for that matter) immeasurably. The gift of God’s love is beyond measure because God gives us God’s very self, and we find ourselves best in that gift. God’s gift of love is God making himself known to us and in that love we see who we are. We learn how God, the Creator of the Universe, is mindful of us. God, who made the hairs on the back of your neck and your fully articulating thumb and forefinger is mindful of you. God is constantly stitching you, yourself, together so you have a moment to pause and remember that God stitched herself into the fabric of our existence as a tiny baby human who would show us who God is. One of the last things Jesus said (and one of the things his followers have repeated most) is “Remember me.” “Be mindful of me” Jesus said, “In my death, in the fullness of my human existence, in my sacrificial love for you, in my defeat of death on the cross — remember me.”

This is one of the first things humanity said to Jesus, too. “You remembered me,” Mary sings “God has been mindful of me” in her famous song, the Magnificat. She says it to God the Zygote inside her when she gets confirmation from her cousin, Elizabeth (with help from Elizabeth’s own miracle baby still in utero), that she is indeed pregnant with the Son of God. And as she sings, she remembers the mindful words of her people for centuries. The Magnificat is dripping with scriptural references. She is remembering the promises of her people and seeing them fulfilled in her.

Let’s be mindful of God being mindful of us by reading Mary’s song. She leads us into a loving relationship with God Our Savior. God is mindful of us. With Mary’s words we can be mindful of God, again and again.

The Magnificat Luke 1:46-55
And Mary said:

“My soul glorifies the Lord 

  and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,

for he has been mindful

    of the humble state of his servant.

From now on all generations will call me blessed,

    for the Mighty One has done great things for me—

    holy is his name.

His mercy extends to those who fear him,

    from generation to generation.

He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;

    he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.

He has brought down rulers from their thrones

    but has lifted up the humble.

He has filled the hungry with good things

    but has sent the rich away empty.

He has helped his servant Israel,

    remembering to be merciful

to Abraham and his descendants forever,

    just as he promised our ancestors.”

Want to memorize it? Between now and Christmas I bet you could. “Remember me,” Jesus said. Communing with Mary in her brilliant song of praise, resistance and reception of God’s blessing is a great way to do just what the Lord said: and I for one would like to be found doing what he said (which includes doing as well as saying Mother Mary’s song) when he comes again looking for faith on the Earth.

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