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A series of meditations for Christmas. You can subscribe to receive each daily meditation on your browser if you have an RSS Feed Reader by using this link. Meditations to date are listed here.
Day 11 : A song of joy and trust (Luke 1:46-50)

Spare a thought for Mary: teenaged, unmarried, told by an angel that she is pregnant – with the Son of God, no less, who will be God’s eternal king. Pretty enormous! And of all the ways to respond to those life-shattering events, I think this song is probably the most extraordinary. It’s extraordinary because it’s not about Mary, or even about her child (although it clearly is about both) – it’s a song about the LORD: who He is and what He has done. In the midst of life-changing circumstances, Mary chooses to glorify God, to rejoice in these glorious truths – and too so can we.

I love that this song, this outpouring of joy and trust, is both massively mind-blowing in scope; and also wonderfully, beautifully personal.

This is the God we worship.

  • He is the Mighty One (v49) – he is mighty, great, powerful, enthroned above all. Who is powerful, and willing, to act for his people.
  • His name is holy (v49) – his very being is utterly pure and set apart (Psalm 99v3). 
  • Yet he has unending mercy for those who fear him (v50), love and kindness for those who realise he is worthy of awe and worship and adoration.
  • He is unendingly faithful to his people, and keeps his promises and covenants and plans throughout generations and history (v50). 
  • And who is God our Saviour (v47). In fact, that’s where it all starts. Not just an abstract saviour, a personal one: Mary’s saviour. Your saviour, and mine. God my saviour.

And so we too can rejoice. Magnify, make big, the Lord in our souls. Maybe those words feel hard to say right now. But this week, this song has thrilled me: despite anything we’re facing, we can rejoice in the Mighty God of history, God our saviour. 

Maybe we need to lift our eyes to the power and might of the Lord. It’s so easy to forget his holiness and power, and not worship him with awe. Or maybe we need to treasure this God as our personal Saviour, to know in our hearts how, like Mary, he is mindful for us (v48). He knows and cares and loves us. What a privilege. What a wonder to rejoice in.

Becca Nichol, 09/12/2021

Day 10 : Mary Visits Elizabeth (Luke 1:39-45)

This is one of the most joyful passages in the Bible and one that always brings a smile to my face. Mary had just received amazing, but also terrifying and life-changing news from the angel. She believed God’s word for her and had confirmed that she was willing to serve the God she loved. And yet, God knew that she needed support and so she’d also been told that her relative Elizabeth was pregnant. So that’s where she headed after receiving her own news. 

Imagine the joy the two women experience seeing each other, being able to spend time together, catching up and sharing the amazing things that God is doing in their lives. Both are carrying precious babies that were conceived miraculously. And in each other they have someone who understands just how terrifying and thrilling this is. They are part of God’s story and they get it!

There is so much joy in this encounter. I love that little phrase “the baby leaped in her [Elizabeth’s] womb” when Mary greeted Elizabeth. Baby John was excited to meet Jesus even in the womb: “the baby in my womb leaped for joy.” It’s one of the most uplifting pictures and it makes me smile as I imagine this scene, baby John doing a somersault, the look on Elizabeth’s face, the big hugs and the excitement. What a joyful and holy moment! Elizabeth is filled with the Holy Spirit and understands that Mary’s pregnancy is no ordinary one, immediately calling out a blessing over Mary and her child. 

Both Mary and Elizabeth believed that the Lord would fulfil his promises to them. No matter where we stand in life, no matter how old or young we are, would we believe that God keeps his promises and would we simply burst with joy knowing that he is with us now. May that joy spread!

Christine Fenning, 08/12/2021

Day 9 : Waiting with confidence (Luke 1:34-38)

Where Zechariah doubts the angel’s message Mary is only puzzled- and not unreasonably, how is she to conceive when she knows she is a virgin and her wedding day is still some way off?

But Gabriel wasn’t joking in verse 32 when he said that this would be the Son of the Most High- that’s not some hubristic human title- in verse 35 this isn’t a normal human conception, but the power of the Most High directly at work.  It’s bizarre, terrifying, life-plan-derailing news.

Any idea of meek and mild Mary just accepting this and humbly getting on with life misses a remarkable, quiet courage… apparent adultery could still in principle face a death sentence, and she certainly risked deeply wounding, lasting social disapproval.  How did she meet the news with such equanimity?

Gabriel points her at the miraculous work already underway in Elizabeth- God’s word to Zechariah certainly did not fail, nor has he ever been unfaithful to his promises… this seems to be Mary’s confidence “May it be to me according to your word”.

She goes forward into danger, not yet sure if her marriage will stand, or whether family and neighbours will reject her… but she goes forward knowing that her child’s reign over Israel is the culmination of the whole string of promises through Israelite history, and no word from God has ever failed.

Through Advent we’re waiting with Mary for this Son, no doubt with our own uncertainties and reservations.  Perhaps there are worries particular to this odd season and the challenges of seeing or missing family, or uncertainty about health, isolation, or employment in the coming months.  Perhaps we feel de-railed, or are there lifelong questions about whether we’ll see the blessings we yearn for, or whether we’ll ever leave behind the failings that beset us?

But through any turmoil we can wait with confidence… we stand on every promise of his word, knowing he will return, knowing his kingdom- and our place in it- will never pass away.

For no matter how many promises God has made, they are ‘Yes’ in Christ.  And so through him the ‘Amen’ is spoken by us to the glory of God.  Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ.  He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.  2 Corinthians 1:20-22

Charlie Currie, 07/12/2021

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