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The Joy of Advent: Day Five


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, even as he said to our fathers.”

– Luke 1:46-56

Like everyone who encounters the story of God as man, I walk away more and more impressed with Mary. I walk away humbled by her faith, completely dismayed by her experience and totally conflicted on my own intentions and faithfulness. I’ve heard God several times in my life, but fortunately(?), I have never had to experience being asked of anything so drastic.

Then I think through what God has called me toward, and the many times I have backed down or justified my way out of how he asks me to engage our world and the people I encounter. He has called me to some seemingly drastic things, but I have yet to love my neighbor as myself well, or lay down my life for a friend in every aspect, or sell more of my possessions so that I can give more and more generously.

Every year I encounter Mary’s song, and every year I am reminded that it is not for my glory in the least, but that my life should always point to the holiness of a God who rescues, just as Mary reminds us. Mary rejoiced in one of the most uncomfortable, awkward, shameful circumstances I can imagine, and this Advent season I am reminded of my role to rejoice in the fact that God loved me, that he did all of this for me. And for you. And for us. That the God of all rulers, the God of Abraham used a mere girl to have his son enter the world for the salvation of all. And in that reality I find rest, and in that knowledge I find a joy that can’t be explained.

May the joy of a God that would do everything to be in relationship with you fill your heart and warm your spirit. And may we reflect that hope, peace, and joy to each person we get to encounter. Amen.

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