He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty. - Luke 1:51-53
Today we hear Jesus’ mother Mary singing at the beginning of Luke’s gospel. This is her song that she sings at her cousin Elizabeth’s house during a three-month visit upon learning that Elizabeth is pregnant with a son who will grow to become John the Baptist. As she sings a song of praise, in part she sings the words quoted above.
These words are all about the dissolving of power and lifting up those who are powerless in the world. The haves will become the have-nots and the systems of the world will be turned upside down. The times to come will be a great balancing of a world that has become horribly imbalanced.
Things aren’t much different today. There is still a profound imbalance of a great many things in our world. Clearly, that about which Mary sang has yet to come to its full fruition. John and Jesus show us the way, but we have to be the ones to truly and consistently follow it.
When these two yet unborn infants grow into adulthood, they are both going to bring messages of hope, yet those messages are not necessarily easy ones to live. If they were, we wouldn’t have the imbalances and injustices that are still a horrific reality for far too many. John paves the way by beginning with a message about repentance; of turning away from the imbalanced ways of the world and turning towards a better way. That Way comes after him in Jesus, who models and teaches a life that embodies the spirit of his mother’s song. Both of these men changed the world, and the world killed both of them for it.
As Christmas draws near, listen to Mary singing. Realize that her song is over two thousand years old and is as relevant today as it was when she sang it. Understand the responsibility we as people of her legacy have in creating a world where her song can come to life.
Then welcome her child in gladness and go forward into a new year of making her song come to life.
God of Song, help us sing Mary’s song in our hearts and in our living so we might make the lyrics come alive in our world for the sake of all.