Prepare to Listen. Light all 4 Advent candles and pray with thanksgiving: A child has been born for us, a son given to us.
Prayerfully Read Luke 1:46-55
46And Mary said,
‘My soul magnifies the Lord,
47and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour,
48for he has looked with favour on the lowliness of his servant.
Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
49for the Mighty One has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
50His mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
51He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
52He has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
and lifted up the lowly;
53he has filled the hungry with good things,
and sent the rich away empty.
54He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
55according to the promise he made to our ancestors,
to Abraham and to his descendants for ever.’
When Mary sang these words, her circumstances weren’t ones to rejoice over. She was young (probably only 14), single, pregnant, and engaged to a man who wasn’t the father of her child. This is enough to plunge anyone into despair.
Yet Mary’s song is filled with joy and hope. She was able to see beyond her awful present to God’s awe-filled future. Therefore, she rejoiced, boasting, “the Mighty One has done great things for me,” and lists five things, each beginning with: “he has….” They mostly focus on how God will (still future) reverse the fortunes of the lowly and weak by bringing down the rich and powerful. None of this described Mary’s immediate experience. She looked beyond the present with hopeful eyes to what God would do and, with a belief in the God of the impossible, she rejoiced.
Mary sets the bar high for us today. We’ve been living in not-so-perfect times thanks to covid-19 and another nasty political election and its aftermath. At times it was hard for us to see beyond the struggle, to see God doing great and impossible things and then rejoice. Advent, a time of waiting for God in Christ to act, has been training us to keep hope alive and our eyes on the day Christ comes with recompense for the suffering, by bringing down the rich and powerful and lifting up the poor and lowly.
Reflect on whatever in this passage and/or your world today gives you hope and inspires rejoicing.
Respond to Jesus
“My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour, for he has looked with favour on the lowliness of his servant.” In your mercy, Lord, may this be my belief and attitude today. Amen.
Go live obediently in the world, rejoicing in hope.
I am convinced that reading the Christian Bible is essential for our Christian spiritual nourishment. I speak from experience, over 60 years of experience. I also believe we'll never get bored reading the Bible over and over. Each time I read it, I learn something new. Read with me during Advent and learn to wait for Christ with heart and mind alert for his coming. The readings draw on my background of study and teaching the Bible for over 30 years.