46And Mary said, ???My soul magnifies the Lord,??47and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,??48for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;49for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name.50His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation.51He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.??52He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly;??53he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty.??54He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy,??55according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.???
I want us to look at Mary again this evening. ??Last week we saw that Mary said 'yes' to God, accepting His call upon her life. ??Mary exercised great faith, trusting that God would provide in the midst of persecution. ??But tonight I want us to understand one important reason why this kind of faith was possible for her. You see, Mary knew who it was that was calling her to accept this new and mysterious way of life.
In Mary's song of praise, she begins by rejoicing in God, praising His graciousness in choosing her, a lowly servant. ??But she quickly finishes talking about her and in a smooth transition turns the spotlight onto God's people, Israel. ??Mary moves from an individual understanding to a collective view of who God is and what God is doing. ??Because for Mary, this moment, this call to serve, is about God's activity in the lives of all people.
Mary understands that her story is our story???it's everybody's story. ??As a person of faith, she knows that when God does something in someone's life, it always has ripples of grace that affect the whole. ??The birth of this child to Mary is not going to be something that she will experience alone, that will only affect her and her husband. ??This event will move beyond their immediate and even extended family. ??When God acts in the lives of people, it is for the greater good. ??When His love is poured out, its waves wash over the shore of every land.
And so, this is God's story: humanity's movement from life, to death, and then to life again through God's redeeming love. ??You see, none of us are in this alone, but we are all affected by sin and we are all offered life through Jesus Christ. ??For God's work in sending Jesus to this place is about opening up the story of God's life-giving-Love to each and every person that will come to Him and accept that life. ??And that life is wrapped up in the form of a little child, a child who has been born???not just to Mary and Joseph???but born to us all on this Christmas Eve.
Leave with this tonight: Jesus was born for you???all of you. ??Know that Mary's story is our story and our story is God's story. ??Be blessed by the gift of Jesus and live out the story of God. ??Merry Christmas.
Rev. Whit R. Martin??
Pastor, New Liberty United Methodist Church
Devotional Blog – http://devoblog.posterous.com
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