Sunday, December 9, 2012

Mary's Song

Have you ever read Mary’s song Luke 1, like really read it? Christendom calls it The Magnificat. It is indeed magnificent—not because of anything a simple young woman in Nazareth did, but everything that the Almighty God did through her.

It is very possible that Mary was not literate, yet her song, so beautifully recorded by Luke, is rich with the themes of Israel’s prophets.

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: 46-55)

The season of Advent is about waiting. If you read closely through the Gospels, you’ll notice every character in the Christmas story was waiting for something. Zechariah and Elizabeth were waiting for a child. The shepherds were waiting for a break from the doldrums of living and working with sheep. The Magi were waiting to see if the result of their “science” was for real. Simeon and Anna were waiting to see the promised Messiah. Jesus was waiting to fulfill the will of the Father. 

Yet I often have trouble seeing what Mary and Joseph were waiting for. Like the rest of rural Israel, I’m sure they were living in constant hope that the Lord would send some relief from the oppressive Romans. But other than that, it appears as though the God’s plan caught them by surprise. Mary wasn’t pining for a husband. Joseph wasn’t searching for his dream job. They most certainly were not hoping for a baby (not yet, anyways). 

But in her Song, Mary sings, “for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant.” There was definitely something on her heart; something she was waiting on from the Lord. And God knew that. He knew that from the beginning of time; from the moment He hatched the plan to send His Ambassador to Earth. He was mindful of all her human obsessions and failings and quirks—and still, He chose to use her to be the carrier of His Son.

How many times (while we’re waiting and waiting, and waiting some more) do we question our qualifications before God? “He can’t use me,” we say. Or “Why would God ever bless me like that?” We ask. When in reality we all fall short of God’s standards. It is His mercy that He chooses us, broken and leaky vessels, as a part of His plan; His grace that we can sing His praises. 

This is a Peaceful assurance as we light the second Advent candle.

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