Scripture reading: Luke 1:46–55
What is most remarkable about Mary’s song, the Magnificat, is that Mary chooses to interpret what God has done for her not as a dilemma, which it surely must also have been, but as a blessing. Even today, explaining an unexpected and unaccounted-for pregnancy is a dilemma. But how much more so in an age when women were commonly regarded as the property of men? Serious social and perhaps even life-threatening consequences met women caught in this situation. Even if subsequent history has shown that Mary’s pregnancy was a gift of God, there was no way for those closest to her to be so sure at the time. Surely this pregnancy must have had its awkward, difficult, and even dangerous moments. Yet here, in the safety and privacy of Elizabeth’s home, Mary assesses her situation as a blessing and an act of mercy on the part of the Lord God, her Savior. Her use of this term, Savior, is particularly interesting, since in the immediate circumstance, her Savior has introduced difficulty into her life. But as the journey to Judea and the later journey to Bethlehem testify, Mary’s courage, strength of purpose, and clarity of conviction are not the Christmas card variety. There is no sentimentality here. Mary is declaring God her Savior, personally, against all appearances. This is faith at its most raw and costly.
Compassionate and Holy One:
In this season of Advent,
we, like Mary, come to you seeking to confess the truth:
the truth about who we are
and the truth about who you are.
May we echo in our hearts and minds,
with our hands and voices,
her sturdy hope, her daring audacity.
May we, like Mary, proclaim your faithfulness
into the war-torn world and dispiriting inequities
we share with her, across the centuries and geography.