if you got pneumonia and died
It's hard to be a woman during Advent. There are societal expectations -- Christmas cookies (I'm a good cook but a terrible baker), presents (I suck at wrapping gifts), Christmas cards (it's just weird to pose for pictures as a single woman. Don't worry -- I didn't.).
It's difficult -- ok, devastating -- to engage with the story of Advent literally because it's a lot about fertility and pregnancy and after cancer treatments, I can't get pregnant. God could never appear to me out of nowhere and ask to hijack my uterus for the Messiah because my uterus is good for nothing.
Then there's Baby, It's Cold Outside, a song I love for its counterpoint vocals and hate for its message. A song that basically condones date rape. Society put Robin Thicke on the rails and sent him out of town for Blurred Lines, but for some reason, we still play Baby, It's Cold Outside as if nothing violent, demeaning or shameful could ever come from this narrative.
Advent highlights why God had to send his only son -- not daughter, but son -- because if God had sent a daughter, she would have been ignored. HER uterus would have been hijacked and her voice, if she had one at all, would have been drowned out by men.
The reason why it's hard to be a woman during Advent is highlighted by this piece about Nagmeh Abedini. The Christian world is praying harder for her husband's release than it is for her -- who said last month that she was suspending her advocacy for his release because she had been abused by him.
Advent is difficult for women like Nagmeh.
Advent is difficult for women like me.
And maybe this is why Advent exists.
To redeem pain. To remind us that God, who is Spirit (NOT MAN), is either both masculine and feminine or neither. To remind us that God is not an abuser. To remind us that God is more manger than muscle.
Maybe Advent exists to redeem the pain of women like Mary.
To redeem the pain of Nagmeh.
To redeem pain of countless anonymous women who have been abused, assaulted and demeaned.
To redeem the pain of me.