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What would it take to get you singing and dancing from sheer joy and excitement?  Has that ever happened to you?

(Photo: Jumping for Joy, by Moel Hiraddug. CC-BY-SA-2.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

(Photo: Jumping for Joy, by Moel Hiraddug. CC-BY-SA-2.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

That’s exactly what Mary and Elizabeth are doing in Luke 1:39-56.  This passage is sometimes called Magnificat because that is the first word of Mary’s song in Latin.

Mary’s Song of Praise

Jesus has been conceived by this time, but it is still 30 more weeks until his birth in Bethlehem.  Yet he has made Elizabeth’s baby leap for joy in her womb and has filled his own mother with excitement, hope and triumph.  So she does the only thing she can do.  She sings a song; a song about the dream that one day God would do all that He had promised to her ancestors.  A dream that goes back to God’s promise to Abraham that all the nations will be blessed through him.

The world Elizabeth and Mary lived in was not one filled with hope and triumph.  The violent and paranoid Herod the Great was king and his decrees were backed by the threat of the Roman army.  Harsh taxes and regulations were impressed upon the population.  Life in general was not good.

The focus of most Jews at this time was on scriptures that spoke of hope, revolution, rescue, fulfillment of God’s covenant, and the victory of God over evil.  That is the fountain from which Mary’s song springs.  Most of her song echoes Hannah’s song in 1 Samuel 2 when she celebrated the birth of her son, Samuel, and all that God would do through him.

The Garden Tomb in Jerusalem | This is not the tomb of Christ, but does it matter? Wherever it is, it is empty!

The Garden Tomb in Jerusalem | This is not the tomb of Christ, but does it matter? Wherever the actual tomb is, “He is not [there]. He is risen!”

So Mary and Elizabeth rejoice together over what God is going to do through their two sons, John and Jesus.  The victory of God is coming at last!

Even though it was humanity who chose to sever the covenant relationship we had with God in the Garden of Eden, God has taken all the initiative to save us and restore us to life in covenant relationship with Him!  Our freedom comes through the work of no one but Him.  He is the reason we celebrate at Christmas and in every other season as well.

“As we are searching for God, the good news is that God is searching for us. Better yet, He has found us. The great question is not whether we have found God but whether we have found ourselves being found by God. God is not lost. We were, or as the case may be, we are…. Seekers and searchers of all times have looked toward the heavens in order to find God. Then the gift was given. Mary’s searching was interrupted by an angel who promised that soon, very soon, in a matter of nine months, she would look not up but down, into the face of the baby in her arms, into the face of God. This is called incarnation, meaning that God is infleshed in our humanity…And so it is with all who, wearied by their searching, wake up to the gift already given; so it is with all who wake up to find themselves found by Emmanuel, God with us. Give us the grace, we pray, to surrender to being found.”John Neuhaus (“God with Us: Rediscovering the Meaning of Christmas')

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Grace and peace.