Advent devotion – December 21, 2009

Scripture – Luke 1:39–56

It is a challenge to live richly into the anticipation that is Advent—to keep the frenzy and the Christmas rush at bay. Yesterday we celebrated the Fourth Sunday of Advent. The Christmas Eve service is only three days away. Can we offer, will we find, a bit of peace in these days before Christmas? All my best practices and Advent rituals are flung aside as I fuss over the Christmas Eve bulletin, worry that rain will douse the candles outside our church, and wonder if this year’s baby Jesus will cry like a real child.

Then I encounter Mary’s song of praise. Mary has just heard from the angel Gabriel, and she rushes to see her aunt Elizabeth. In that meeting, Mary knows in her whole heart that what the angel said was true. She claims the angel’s story as her own. Mary doesn’t panic; she doesn’t worry about what this means for the future. No, she breaks out into joyous song: “My soul magnifies the Lord and my Spirit rejoices in God my Savior. For God has looked with favor on the lowliness of God’s servant.”

Our sisters and brothers who are Episcopalian include the “Magnificat” in every Advent service. What if we did the same? Would we begin to think of ourselves as people who magnify the Lord, to believe and act as though our actions can make the reality of God more visible for others? During these last few days before Christmas, I invite you to enter into Mary’s song and daily read, hum, or sing Luke 1:46–56.

May we rejoice in the Lord this and every day. Amen.

The Rev. Maggi Henderson
pastor, Old First Presbyterian Church
San Francisco, California

Order Proclaiming the Good News of God's Peace.

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