Today, on this third Sunday of Advent, we light the candle of JOY.
Today, we rejoice with Mary at this amazing thing God has done.
Though we know that Mary was a very young woman about 13 years old, she had an amazing understanding of scripture and the times in which she lived. She was carrying the Messiah, the one who to bring freedom to the captives. No doubt she was a little scared. Yet, she was filled with great joy.
I enjoy reading a translation of the Bible called The Voice. Some of the passages in The Voice translation contain an explanation that gives rich meaning to the text. I’ve included it below as a preface to the verses following, because it is so very helpful. I know it is a bit long…but I do think you’ll enjoy the text.
This portion of scripture from Luke 1 is referred to as The Magnificat.
Mary is deeply moved by these amazing encounters—first with the messenger
and then with her cousin, Elizabeth. Mary’s response can’t be contained in normal
prose; her noble soul overflows in poetry. And this poetry isn’t simply religious;
it has powerful social and political overtones. It speaks of a great reversal—what
might be called a social, economic, and political revolution. To people in Mary’s day,
there is little question as to what she is talking about. The Jewish people are oppressed
by the Roman Empire, and to speak of a King who will demote the powerful and rich
and elevate the poor and humble means one thing: God is moving toward setting them
free! Soon Zacharias will overflow in poetry of his own.
46 Mary: My soul lifts up the Lord!
47 My spirit celebrates God, my Liberator!
48 For though I’m God’s humble servant,
God has noticed me.
Now and forever,
I will be considered blessed by all generations.
49 For the Mighty One has done great things for me;
holy is God’s name!
50 From generation to generation,
God’s lovingkindness endures
for those who revere Him.
51 God’s arm has accomplished mighty deeds.
The proud in mind and heart,
God has sent away in disarray.
52 The rulers from their high positions of power,
God has brought down low.
And those who were humble and lowly,
God has elevated with dignity.
53 The hungry—God has filled with fine food.
The rich—God has dismissed with nothing in their hands.
54 To Israel, God’s servant,
God has given help,
55 As promised to our ancestors,
remembering Abraham and his descendants in mercy forever.
It’s hard to even imagine what it must have been like to have been in Mary’s sandals….
or Joseph’s for that matter. What most intrigues me is their complete devotion to God. Their willingness to put self aside…completely.
Maybe Mary did a fair amount of hand wringing…. What was she going to do? Who could she tell? What would people think? Here she is looking forward to a wedding and her Joseph….this certainly wasn’t what she had planned was it?
How do you think she reacted?
Somehow, I think she was able to put aside all those normal reactions and praise the Lord with these incredible words we read in Luke 1.
Mary saw herself as God’s servant. Humble servant.
Sometimes I think that it is quite the opposite with us. We see God as one who serves us.
How often do we come to him and pray to get out of a jam? We pray for stuff….not even things we need…stuff we want. We ask him to order our world to suit ourselves. We ask him to change our circumstances or bless us in some manner. And sometimes we are even so benevolent that we ask him to do the same for someone else, too.
When I was a little girl, I heard people pray, “Lord, your will be done.” Not-some-much these days.
I know I am guilty of wanting my own way. I’m tired of my current leg of the journey. Frankly, some days it’s hard to tell God…”Whatever you want.” Even when I know his way is always best.
We may not be waiting to give birth to the Savior of the world. But, we are waiting to see how he will use us and what he will do in us to impact the world and bring him glory. Yes?
As we light the candle of JOY,
let’s take JOY in the blessing and anticipation that Mary enjoyed,
let’s take JOY in God.
We too can sing these same words and mean them…
For the Mighty One has done great things for me;
holy is God’s name!
From generation to generation,
God’s lovingkindness endures
for those who revere Him.
Can you sing those words?
For some reason this song I sang in church quite a few years ago came to mind. It’s very worshipful. But, even more, it’s not about us. It’s about desiring to bring JOY to our Lord and King through the song of our hearts.
I love you, Lord
And I lift my voice
To worship You
Oh, my soul rejoice
Take joy, my King
In what You hear
Let it be a sweet
Sweet sound in Your ear
excerpted from: I Love You Lord written by Laurie B. Klein
So where are you in all of this?
Do you share Mary’s JOY?
Or are you struggling to be a humble servant like Mary?
If you’re unfamiliar with the practice of observing Advent during the four weeks leading up to Christmas, I shared some ideas for observing Advent here. And I created a not-so-typical-version of an Advent wreath here?
Today is Joy Day!
The day when we take time to look back over our past week and count the gifts and blessings from the week. I’m reminded that some gifts aren’t exactly pleasant…but because of them our character is developed. In all things we are to give thanks.
Please join me in counting just ‘seven’ from the past week.
God, I’m grateful:
- for being able to serve my friend and clean for her.
- for friends. Praying, loving, faithful friends.
- the opportunity to hear TSO in concert, and the peace you gave me when we realized we had to decline the invitation.
- that though my camera has quit working, I have a friend who trusts me to use her camera/lens and even teach me how to use them.
- for an opportunity for Tim to work and his humble heart to take a job as a temp in a factory.*
- for no response on an immediate ministry position. Your will be done.
- for Christmas and your plan, God, to give us liberty in Christ Jesus.
Now it’s YOUR turn!!
Join me in counting ‘seven.’ Scroll down to the comment section…Share Your Extraordinary Thoughts….and list your ‘seven.’ I guarantee your JOY meter will soar.
Want even more joy? Take the Joy Dare here.
Thank you for stopping by today.
I appreciate you and your sweet comments make my day.
*There is a bit of a hurdle in this. The employment agency needs to be in compliance with federal immigration laws. They have three days to verify a potential employee’s identification with a driver’s license and a Social Security card (or a passport…our expired a few years ago). Our S.S. Cards are buried deep in one of our storage units, 2 states away. However, the Social Security Administration has a website to verify Social Security numbers for employers when hard copies aren’t available. The downside…the employment agency wants a hard copy, even though Tim shared this info with them. [sigh] This is a God-sized dilemma. Hopefully a trip to a Social Security office on Monday can rectify this. If not…then God must have something else in mind. Thanks for your prayers.
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