“My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. 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. He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”” [Luke 1:46b-55]
Christmas is on Sunday
“I hate it when… or “I love it when… Christmas falls on a Sunday. Either way: Christmas is always a sabbath day. A day of worship.
Christmas for us looks back and looks forward.
Looking back we retell the story of birth, incarnation, hope, peace, love and joy.
Looking forward we hear the prophet foretell of who God will work as seen through the life of Mary.
Have you ever looked at the similarities of Mary’s faithful “favor” reflects God’s work through us in Christ?
- holy is his name. (King of Kings, Lord or Lords, Prince of Peace, Mighty One, the Christ!)
- mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation, (Grace and Trust go hand in hand)
- shown strength with his arm; (Incarnational, personally and physically working alongside)
- scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. (
- brought down the powerful from their thrones,
- lifted up the lowly; (Children come to me, women at the well, hemorrhage, demoniac
- filled the hungry with good things, (feeding the 5000)
- sent the rich away empty. (Rich Young Ruler)
- helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, forever (Connection to the covenant with Abraham, eternal)
All these things that God finds favor with Mary’s faith and remembering of God at work through God’s People, tell the Jesus story before he was born.
Christmas is reclaimed in the present
Not I didn’t say in the presences, not necessarily, but Christ is reclaimed in the current moment, right in what we are dealing with, here and now.
In this third week of preparing for Christmas, we work to reclaim Christmas by looking at our own lives:
Making the list of God’s faithfulness in my life and how the faithful has shaped God’s work in me
Mark breaks out singing praise to God when she is told of God calling entrusting her to serve as mother to Jesus.
It is a whopper of task for sure.
Me the Magnificant? No not me?
What is God calling me to do? to be? to say? to stand for? to witness to a struggling world.
So far was have talked about reminding each other that Christmas is Jesus’s birthday and the gifts are his.
Secondly, we talk about the simple act of sharing a card can begin or continue a conversation of love and faith.
Today, it time to add the list.
Advent is the season of lists.
If you keep them in your head, on paper or in some digital form, the lists are important. (From best to worst list)
- The Santa List
- The gift list
- The cooking list
- The party and company list
- The decoration list
- The clean up the house list
The things we do in response to the special day, the day of the Lord.
Look back at Mary’s list
- How can I share God’s Glory this Christmas (God’s greatness.. God is so great..
- How might God bring peace and home to my fears? ( Start acknowledging our fears then match of God’s mercy and grace, connect dots.
- How will I offer my hands/feet/body to be used to reveal Christ? (Feeding, Serving, Gifting, Friending
- Share what holds our heart captive from loving and forgiving. (Go out forgive and love someone difficult.
- Power and Pride
- Teach a child God’s in-the-flesh, incarnation story, Share your story with a stranger or elder or sojourner
- Feed someone, letting them you are eating together as sharing of Christ.
- Give a gift that is extravagantly valuable yet cost not money. Forgive, Bless, Teach, Empower, Relent your control!
- Most importantly, name how your Christmas traditions connect you to God and God’s people through your generations, what do you want the next generation to learn from you about Jesus.
Personalize the Mary List
Of all the things we do to prepare for Christmas, Tackling the Mary List is the best way to reclaim and rekindle Christmas.
Mary has nine things on her list: We would rather have one thing, maybe three or four. But nine sounds like too many to squeeze in with all we have planned.
Three part list: God’s part, Our Part, Connecting the Dots.
That is the point.
- God Part
- Praise God
- Trust God
- Serve God
- Confession to God
- Let go and Rest in God
- Our Part
- Share the story
- Live the faith
- Key Part