Today is the conclusion of the 4-part Advent series. If you would like to start at the beginning of this series, you can find the first lesson on Hope, here.
“You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus…. “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the the Son of God.”” Luke 1:31, 35
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
I heard Janet Parshall speak at a conference and she remarked that “Hannah prayed and a nation changed; Mary prayed and the world changed”. Hannah was the mother of Samuel, the last judge of God’s people during the transition into the reign of the kings. His service and ministry brought a sense of order to the Israelites as he assisted in the ushering in of this new era. Samuel was greatly used by God.
Following the angel’s visit, Mary travels to the home of Zechariah and Elizabeth. Her arrival prompts Elizabeth to greet her with great joy and bestow praise upon her for her humility in service to the Lord and her belief that what the Lord has told her will come to pass. Mary responds to Elizabeth with a song of praise which is often referred to as the Magnificat.
“My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me — holy is his name. His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, even as he said to our fathers.” Luke 1:46-55
In the fullness of time, Mary “gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger,” (Luke 2:7) “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14) The long-awaited promise of God was fulfilled for Mary and for the world. Immanuel had come.
I think that Mary’s song of praise reflects our own before God. We come humbly before Him asking for His merciful grace to forgive and redeem us of sin. Once received, our souls can’t help but glorify and rejoice in the Lord because of His great love and mercy. Mary speaks of the power and mercy that God has shown her people in the past, in her present, and in the future to come. Jesus, the son that Mary bore, is still changing the world and showing his power in the lives of people. The author of the book of Hebrews records this verse about Him.
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Hebrews 13:8
During this sacred Advent season, we celebrate not only what Jesus has done but what He is currently doing and what He will do in the future. He is our Hope, the rock of our Faith, the source of our Joy, and the dwelling place of our Love. The infant babe that Mary rocked, fed, and cooed to sleep “did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45) We know of love because God is love and He “sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins….Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.” (1 John 4:10,16) We, the children of God and the co-heirs with Christ, now, wait to see “the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory. We wait for him to “send his angels with a loud trumpet call” to “gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.”(Matthew 24: 30,31)
This holiday season, I pray that you are blessed and filled abundantly with the love of God which spills forth into your own song of praise. I pray also that you will know how loved you are by God.
“For he chose [you] in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined [you] to be adopted as his [son or daughter] through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given [you] in the One he loves.” (Ephesians 1:4-6)(changes are mine)