Friday, December 21, 2018

Advent: Mary

Did you know that God really loves you, and his affection has nothing to do with your education, your achievements, your job security, or even your bank account. In fact, the surprising insight of Mary’s song is that God “has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.” She announces that God favors us in our lowliness, in our humility, in our simple willingness to lean on him. 

That’s good news for all of us. When the world around us doesn’t seem to care, God favors us. When the future seems uncertain, God promises to do great things for us. Mary announces that God’s “mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation” and that he will never let his people down.

That’s image-breaking, expectation-shattering, radically reassuring. And it also happens to be true.

But that’s not all. According to Mary, a Christmas cannot be limited to new insights into our personal relationship with God. It also has to include participation in what God is doing in the world. This means signing up to work with Mary’s son, Jesus, to bring down the powerful from their thrones, lift up the lowly and fill the hungry with good things.

So part of our Christmas also has to involve taking our heads out of our holiday boxes and looking around. When the wrapping paper is cleaned up and the decorations are put away, we need to join Jesus in working for a better world, one in which the powerful are held accountable and the powerless are given support and opportunity.

Jesus wants us to know that we are favored by God. But he also wants us to share that love and acceptance with others.