Sunday, December 21, 2008

The journey to the birth: a song

If you were Mary, the mother of Jesus, it might have been easy to do a little spiritual gloating. When others tossed their heads at the shame of her pregnancy, she could have said, “but I am blessed to carry the Messiah! What have you done lately for God?”

One of the themes that runs through our journey to the birth of Jesus is that of humility. Mary was probably young, somewhere between 10 and 15 years old. As a woman, she had few rights and little power.

Wouldn’t it have felt splendid, after chatting with an angel and then knowing you were pregnant as he promised, to gloat just a bit?

Mary was a nothing in her culture, yet look how she responded to God’s grace to her:
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. Luke 1:46-48

It was all about God’s grace, acknowledging her own humble state. Mary was a servant to God.

When Mary adds that “From now on all generations will call me blessed,”(Luke 1:48) I don’t think she said “all generations will call ME blessed” but rather, “all generations will call me BLESSED.” From what we know of Mary, the spotlight was never on herself but on God.

Then God’s acts of the past are named off, to review his nature. Don’t’ skip over this or you’ll miss a blessing. Notice God’s nature in these verses:

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 1:50-55 (NIV)
God blessed Mary and she saw this not as something she was worthy of, or something that elevated her, but as something that revealed God’s grace. How God reaches out to the undeserving is the core of the gospel.

Tomorrow: a birth!

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