THIRD SATURDAY OF ADVENT
SCRIPTURE: LUKE 1:46-56
"My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
my spirit rejoices in God my savior.
for he has looked upon his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed:
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name.
He has mercy on those who fear him
in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm,
and has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones
and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel
for he remembered his promise of mercy,
the promise he made to our fathers,
to Abraham and his children for ever."
Mary remained with Elizabeth about three months
and then returned to her home.
The story of Mary didn’t used to make me cry.
Oh sure, I cry now. Especially when I listen to this Jackie Francois song based on today’s gospel:
My Soul Rejoices
That’s the best song to get stuck in your head, isn’t it? It sings so beautifully the words of one of our faith’s champions.
In this prayer of praise Mary proclaims a God who surpasses all human understanding. She’s the model of all models. She’s an arrow that points to God better than any other human. She’s...well…”most blessed” as Elizabeth puts it so well. And Mary’s Magnificat prayer, if you let it sink deep within you, will make you cry and see three crazy awesome reasons why God is the best thing to come into our lives in the history of mankind.
Mary’s Got It Rough. Don’t Tell Her, Though
Mary is a pregnant high schooler who has accepted the likely shaming or even potentially a stoning for carrying a child she has to explain as not even by another man. She has to risk losing her betrothed, Joseph, with this news (just imagine that conversation.) Mary’s circumstances in giving birth to our Savior are pretty disastrous. By the world’s standard.
What does Mary do, though? She praises God, rejoices in this news and circumstance and calls God great for blessing her.
Blessing her with pregnancy she can only explain by saying, “God did it.”
Blessing her with a pregnancy that could get her killed.
Blessing her with a pregnancy that could get her completely bounced from society.
It seems she is aware of the surroundings that could make her life hard with her reference to being a “lowly servant.”
Yet, she still says, “Yes.”
Makes you a little weepy, doesn’t it?
Could you take the worst circumstance in your life and call it a blessing?
Are you willing to become Mary in your devotion to God? What are you willing to change to make it possible?
Let’s go back to that “lowly servant” comment Mary makes in her praise song. It seems like she’s being a Debbie-Downer and about to go into a big “oh woe is me” speech. Mary, instead, leaps for joy in her trust in God.
“All generations will call me blessed,” she rejoices.
“The Almighty has done great things for me,” she exclaims.
“Holy is His Name,” she glorifies.
She’s all in. The joy she feels is deep within her as a teenager. She knows what’s her’s and knows God does great things - for her. No one can take that away from her ever. She can sing this song at any point in her life in any situation.
That’s joy that goes beyond all understanding.
Do you have joy that gets you through all the tough stuff in your life?
You Better Believe Mary Knows
Mary takes her joy to the next level in preaching the gospel. She can see God reaching His hand of mercy down through all of time. He raises the lowly. He fills the hungry with good things. He’s here to help nations and children of God forever.
Mary knows and believes all the promises of God. He’s not a myth or some symbol of good humanity. Her declaration is a powerful statement that anyone can get behind.
Do you know God enough to know that He can do great things for you? More importantly, do you want to know?
We all think we have a good life. We struggle, though, with stress and depression and anxiety. And we make pains to cover all this up. We don’t deal with what’s underneath.
Take a good look at Mary. See a life of hardship and craziness. I can’t see her being able to hide much of that life.
But now, look underneath. Look at her joy. Look at the promises of God that she knew. Look at the belief she had in a real God who came into her life and took real steps to make her life great and blessed.
Take some time to cry over Mary’s story today. Take some time to get the joy she had. Take some time to rid yourself of all your frustrations by knowing what’s yours and who God is. And even more, take a lot of time to start or develop your relationship with the man, the God, Jesus, this Christmas.
Bryan Ramsey loves his wife, his family & his faith. As the youth minister at St. James in Menomonee Falls, he loves finding ways to draw people into a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ.