Dec. 15, 2012
Mary said, “He has shown strength with his arm. He has scattered those with arrogant thoughts and proud inclinations. He has pulled the powerful down from their thrones and lifted up the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things and sent the rich away empty-handed. He has come to the aid of his servant Israel, remembering his mercy, just as he promised to our ancestor, to Abraham and to Abraham’s descendants forever.”
– Luke 1:51-55
In Mary’s words, we see a message that is repeated multiple times throughout Jesus’ life. God is much more interested in the humble than the proud. God honors the lowly rather than the powerful. God reaches out to the hungry and not the rich.
These words would have been as counter-cultural 2,000 years ago as they are today. Society promotes power, success and wealth. Even before Jesus is born, Mary sets the stage in her song. Whatever society has promoted and encouraged is not really what God’s kingdom is all about. It’s a message Jesus will repeat and repeat:
“Happy are people who are humble, because they will inherit the earth.”
– Matthew 5:5
“So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”
– Matthew 20:16
Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take uptheir cross daily and follow me.
– Luke 9:23
While in Argentina, Kristin and I visited an orphanage. We had taken along backpacks, school supplies and clothes for the kids. One afternoon, we made crafts with the kids. They weren’t very fancy crafts but simple turkeys, necklaces and small Christmas decorations. It was clear to us how much the kids enjoyed these little items. As we were cleaning up, kids discovered sheets with three or four unused stickers on them. Several kids ask Kristin and me if they could keep a page of stickers “just for themselves.” They wanted some all of their
I was so humbled to imagine that three or four stickers are all these kids might have to call their own. Everything else they share: their clothing, bedrooms, school supplies and basically everything else. Could I imagine only having a few crafts and stickers that I could rightly claim as my
Early in Luke’s gospel we hear through Mary one of the main messages of Jesus’ ministry. God looks at the world very differently from society. Jesus’ life would represent God’s view of this kingdom. Now if only we could begin to see our world, live our lives and make choices that reflect God’s
Lord God – So easily, we place importance on the things of this world. Even before baby Jesus made his entrance into the world, his mother Mary shares with us joyfully and excitedly Jesus’ role for coming. Help us continue to see how radical Jesus’ message is and then how we might reflect this message in our daily lives.