For Christmas I look towards the Magnificat as a message of self- care. We find a message of nurture in the lead up to Christ’s birth and comfort in his birth. While a message of action we also see care. Let us encounter the manger and our lives with the same spirit.
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Welcome to the Active Faith Podcast:
My name is Andrew Ware and I am the RunninRev. We are back with a new Monday Meditation, a scriptural reflection of self-care and self-worth. Through these meditations, may we grow in grace and love for God, for ourselves, and others.
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Now let us hear this word of God from Luke 1:46-55…
“46 And Mary said, ‘My soul magnifies the Lord, 47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, 48 for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; 49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. 50 His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. 51 He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. 52 He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; 53 he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty. 54 He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, 55 according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants for ever.’”
A reflection for Christmas that does not include the all to familiar Luke 2 text with the baby Jesus, and shepherds watching their flocks by night. Instead we look at the wonderful and beautifully prayed Magnificat offered by Mary when visiting Elizabeth. Think being so moved by the joyous words of your somewhat distant relative that the magnitude of your pregnancy hits you.
The Angel Gabriel, foretold of the birth of Jesus, telling Mary about the great works he would do. However, we have to consider that there may have been a little bit of hesitancy on Mary’s part as she began her pregnancy. When she sees Elizabeth and the fetus in her belly jumps for joy at the coming King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Elizabeth offers a blessing to Mary, and it is as if time pauses and a spotlight shines on Mary as she proclaims the magnificence of the ordeal she is about to go through. Not just child birth, but raising this special, destined for the life Gabriel laid before her.
Mary’s joy and celebration seems of mixed emotion as she proclaims her praise to God, but also proclaims the work done by God through her soon-to-be son. However, embedded within this prayer is also the multi-faceted layers of self-care that pervade our life as well. We are reminded in the scope of one prayer of our calling towards humility, trust, nurturing, and even advocating that we should have embedded within our own self-care rituals.
This progression of meaning within the Magnificat is for us, a progression of care as well. We can recognize the life and example of Christ in Mary’s words, and so recognize what it means to live, love, and serve God as well.
We notice that a life of faith is not without bringing ourselves humbly before God and seeking renewal of the soul. Within this renewal is also found the abundance of life that calls us to a life of love and justice to a world so desperately in need.
The Christ child who comes to save us, mostly from ourselves, adn the dangerous life we live when we don’t live into the inherent self-worth established in the image of God we are created in. When we fail to recognize the image of God within ourselves, how will we ever see the image of God in our neighbor.
Mary knows she is part of something amazing that is about to happen. God is going to flip the world upside down and transform it through Jesus. It is Jesus’ example that shows us what this nature of humility and nurturing can lead us to do.
Mary recognizes her role in all of this and it makes her one of the best proclaimers of the gospel throughout scripture. Through our own care we recognize the need for care, empathy, and most of all community. Mary offers the example of how we can seek this manner of care in our lives that offers us a life of outward care toward others.
They happen in tandem with one another though. Therefore, we take the example from Mary as she ushers in this infant Christ-child into the world to transform it. To lift up the lowly, to feed the hungry, and to bring God’s promise of justice and equity to a world in need.
How will the words of the Magnificat hit your heart in this Christmas season? How will you nurture your soul through praise? And what will God call you towards in your nurtured soul?