Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Praising in the Between Time Luke 1:39-55

Mary's words in the Magnificat aren't often part of the Christmas story. But reading them I wish they were more on my mind as Christmas nears. Holiday celebrations can be full of activity and obligation. There are gifts to buy and places to be. But in Mary's words I hear a soul praising God. This year I want to sit back and sing out in praise to God who brings grace, life, light, and healing into the world. Yes my Christmas tree is lit and I am buying a few presents for my girls and close family, but my soul has reason sing praise to God today.

46 And Mary said,
“My soul magnifies the Lord,
47      and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.
Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
50 His mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
51 He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
52 He has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
and lifted up the lowly;
53 he has filled the hungry with good things,
and sent the rich away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
55 according to the promise he made to our ancestors,
to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”
Luke 1:46-55 (NRSV)

Yes there are shopping lists and all sorts of activity in the weeks ahead. And I want my soul, in the middle of it all, to echo Mary's words today and everyday. I know God sees my sin and still blesses me. In Mary's words I hear a great reminder that God can do many great things. Even in the midst of challenge and adversity I look with faith and see the blessings God's provided for me and mine.

It's easy, for a person with a full belly and plenty of things, to forget the risk Mary took carrying Jesus. Still knowing the risk she sang praise to God who has mercy on those who fear him while scattering the proud. I hear a word in Mary about the God who brings down the powerful and lifts up the lowly. She wasn't just thanking God for what she had. Mary was praising God for the promises and for the future in God's hands for all people. Mary's word are a great song of prayer and praise for every season and every future. I serve a congregation that sings a version of Mary's words almost every week.

In Mary's song of thanks I am reminded again that God isn't Santa Claus and grace isn't karma. In God's mercy and love there's blessing and promise. This year and Christmas I want to sing with Mary about God who does great things.
Peace and thanks for reading, John

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