Advent Thoughts


Sunday, December 5
Luke 1:41-45

When our daughter’s friends were expecting their first child, the pregnant mom–excited about the impending birth–also expressed fear. In the era of of George Floyd, Eric Garner, and Michael Brown, how could this child of mixed-race parents thrive in a racially radicalized America? Would he be free to succeed? Would he lead marches and demonstrate in pursuit of equality? Would he write books? Compose music? Preach from the pulpit? Become president? Perhaps sadly and more realistically, would he survive?

While Mary’s anthem recorded by Luke rightly honors God, her words could also be printed on marchers’ placards of the day. Her inspired paragraphs, if understood by Caesars and Herods (and certainly by those who claim authority today) should be fair warning of their limited power. Do they understand that human dominion is restricted by the God who laughs at kings of the earth who conspire against him (Psalm 2:2-4)?

Young, powerless Mary is not only an example of humility (I am the Lord’s servant), but a forerunner of bold women through the ages who have changed the course of history by obediently following hard after God by placing themselves in opposition to accepted cultural–and even religious–custom. Women like Corrie ten Boom, Katharine Bushnell, Lottie Moon, Marie Curie, Katie Davis, Gladys Aylward. (If any of these names are unfamiliar, use the internet for discovery and blessing.)

Are we teaching our daughters and granddaughters to follow such paths, awarding them praise for educational pursuits, business acumen, religious callings? Can we confront them as did a wise-beyond-her-years friend who recently challenged a group of young moms with a talk entitled, “Motherhood Is Not Your Greatest Calling”? Mary, whose greatest calling is often understood as “mother of our Lord” and described by Elizabeth as “blessed among all women,” was also a courageous prophet. Encourage the budding female prophets you know this Advent as you tell this story of Mary.

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