And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”
In our current church Advent study, James Harnish in When God Comes Down, writes: “The dawn will come. But the invitation of Advent is to prepare our ears to hear, our eyes to see, and our hearts to experience the way God comes down.” The passage above is widely referred to as Mary’s song, the Magnificat. The context for this is the teenage Mary, who was visited by the angel Gabriel and told that she, a virgin, would become pregnant and have a son. Mary heads off to visit her old cousin Elizabeth who is also pregnant. Mary then bursts out in praise of God with this song of prayer. Mary’s words, for many of us, set the standard for “expecting the unexpected.” She expresses love, faith, joy, humility, reverence, grace and hope for all.
At our recent PVUMC Change the World Day, I was fortunate to spend the morning at a facility sheltering young adults sponsored by the Tumbleweed organization. One of the teenagers there voluntarily gave our group a brief overview of life in the facility, her plans to finish high school, then someday college and graduate school. In the short term, she is seeking part-time employment. While in school, she is also participating in high school NROTC, with plans for future military service. She was positive, hopeful and confident. And, yes, the baby is due in May and everything will be ok.
As always, it was difficult to let go, listen and reflect. My advice to this pregnant teenager was to pursue her dreams and goals, but not to be afraid to ask for help along the way, just as she was doing at Tumbleweed. (She expressed gratitude for the help received from the Tumbleweed staff several times). She also expressed a faith in God that she was in His hands. For me, this was a humbling reminder to listen, to see and to experience the way God comes down.— Mike Colbert
Prayer: O God, our Father, we ask for your special blessing this Advent season. Help us to listen, remind us to be humble, and give us the courage to reach out to others, as we grow to know your love, faith and hope for us all. Amen.