The Christmas season is always one of my favorite times of the year as a pastor. I love to teach through Advent and grow in my understanding of God’s story in bringing us His son Jesus. I love the history, the mysterious prophecies, and the way God chose to use the most humble and marginalized people to bring about His plan.
I prefer the Gospel of Luke in my Christmas studies and this year has been no different, as I’ve been amazed at all the new insight gained through my time of study. There are so many layers to the story and it reminds me each time I read through it, how God is always working behind the scenes of our lives. Whether we want Him to or not…
One of the more popular pieces of Scripture is found in Luke chapter 1. It’s widely known as Mary’s Song…a response / prayer from Mary’s soul as the magnitude of all that is happening to her, and the world, begins to sink in.
Here it is…
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.”
It really is a beautiful song…full of humility and wonder. But as I’ve pondered on it this week, I can’t help but long for our world to hear Mary’s song anew.
Read these words again…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.
This is facsinating Exodus language which we find throughout the Old Testament. Mary is recognizing that once again, God has “heard the cries of My people”…and brought justice, rescue and hope.
I have to be honest…it’s been difficult for me to read this and not wonder why God isn’t doing more to rescue the millions in our world today who are starving, oppressed, and forced to live in such horrid conditions. When will the Congo recieve justice? When will Mugabe, the evil leader of Zimbabwe be brought down from his throne of terror? How long will those who rule with greed be allowed to have so much while their people live with so little?
I believe that Jesus came to save the world and that we will always have our hope in Him. I also believe the church can do more to creatively be the change we all desire to see in the world. But then there are those times when I sit back and ask God why He won’t intervene and bring rescue. Why is He waiting? Who is He preparing that we don’t yet know about? Our world needs a renewed hope that He is hearing their cries!
I’ll continue to read her song this Christmas season…trying to trust God for justice, food, water, healing, and hope. While praying for wisdom as I seek to bring hope in whatever way I can.
Love and Peace.