by Dorette Saunders
Women talk! We often see more details than men do, and we loop those into conversation. At times a woman’s “sixth sense” will kick in—it’s called intuition, and others will wonder, “How did she know?”
The Bible tells us in the first chapter of Luke that a young woman named Mary has a visitation from an angel and is told she will be the mother of the Messiah, God’s Promised Son (Luke 1:26-38). Soon, Mary makes a trip to share the good news with her relative, Elizabeth, who is also pregnant.
This news is not hearsay. Nor is it intuition. It is divine revelation. Nothing is more precious than knowing that you know that you know God is at work in your life, even if you don’t quite understand it or see it!
The backstory of her pregnancy is complex: Mary, a virgin, is engaged to be married, however, as the angel tells her, “The Holy Spirit will come down to you, and God’s power will come over you. So your child will be called the holy Son of God” (v. 35, CEV).
How will she explain this pregnancy to her fiancé? What will the townspeople think? Never mind all that, God has bestowed his grace on Mary, and she is joyous. Her faith is at its zenith. And Elizabeth confirms this by saying to Mary as they embrace:
“The Lord has blessed you because you believed his promise” (Luke 1:45, CEV).
Such faith! How many times have we missed God’s blessings because we have been hesitant or we have flat out refused to believe God’s promise?
Mary’s response to God’s promise is a joyful song of praise, referred to as The Magnificat. Here is a portion of that song:
With all my heart
I praise the Lord,
and I am glad
because of God my Savior.
God cares for me,
his humble servant.
From now on,
all people will say
God has blessed me.
God All-Powerful has done
great things for me,
and his name is holy.
He always shows mercy
who worships him.
(Luke 1:46-50, CEV)
This account is not just about Mary. It is for all of us—women and men—who worship God. God does great things for us. What songs of joy can we bring before the Lord as we wait for the birth of Jesus? How does the celebration of Jesus’ birth feed our faith? Do we feel the comfort and joy that Jesus’ coming into the world brings?
The carols beckon us to be faithful, joyful, and triumphant. God is doing a new thing in us, in our communities, and in our world. Like Mary, let’s open our hearts to receive it…and then offer God praise.
PRAYER: God, as we celebrate Advent weeks symbolizing faith and joy, remind us that you have blessed us and are constantly working for our good. Remind us to use our faith to believe for what others see as impossible. And to sing with joy, even when it is not yet in view. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.