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Luke 1:39-56

Key Verses:

54 He has helped his servant Israel,
    in remembrance of his mercy,
55 as he spoke to our fathers,
    to Abraham and to his offspring forever.

Reflection:

Advent is upon us. It’s December 22 and Christmas is almost here.

Oh, the joy that Mary must have felt! The long-awaited Messiah was in her womb. And she was right. It’s been two thousand years—and still we rejoice with her—that “God remembered his steadfast love and faithfulness to the house of Israel (Ps 98).

Yahweh remembered Mary. He had not forgotten about His servant Israel. Yet many had lost hope. Mary was born into an Israel that had not heard from God in over four hundred years. Would the Messiah ever come? To feel forgotten—is there a worse kind of loneliness?

I still remember the first time I thought I had been forgotten. I was six years old. Mom needed to do some last minute Christmas shopping. No big deal, especially with the five little helpers—me, my older sister, and my three younger brothers! At some point during the excursion, I became separated from my mom and siblings. Hamilton Place is a terrifying place for a six-year-old to find himself alone. It didn’t take long for me to panic. I was too afraid to ask for help and too afraid to wander further into the unknown to try and find them. So back and forth I went, tracing and re-tracing my steps across the little area I had last seen my family. Had I been forgotten? I was alone for what seemed like hours. When at last, I saw my family through the tears, I felt a relief unlike anything I had ever experienced. It was joy mixed with gratitude and belonging.

Perhaps this is something like Mary felt when the angel of the Lord visited her and told her the identity of the child that she would bear. She had not been forgotten but blessed! And the great Blessing that she bore—He has brought blessing to the ends of the earth!

John Dowlen

Prayer:

Lord, thank you that we have not been forgotten. Thank you for remembering us as you remembered your covenant with Abraham, and thank you for the gift of your Son! This Advent season may we feel joy mixed with gratitude and belonging. For, “You have made known your salvation; you have revealed your righteousness in the sight of the nations” (Ps 98). Amen.

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39 In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah, 40 and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. 41 And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, 42 and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 43 And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. 45 And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.”

46 And Mary said,

“My soul magnifies the Lord,
47     and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.
    For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
49 for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
    and holy is his name.
50 And his mercy is for those who fear him
    from generation to generation.
51 He has shown strength with his arm;
    he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;
52 he has brought down the mighty from their thrones
    and exalted those of humble estate;
53 he has filled the hungry with good things,
    and the rich he has sent away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
    in remembrance of his mercy,
55 as he spoke to our fathers,
    to Abraham and to his offspring forever.”

56 And Mary remained with her about three months and returned to her home.

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