Advent Joy

Today was hard. Like, brutally so.


It was the kind of social work day where the unbelievable injustice of the world stares you right in the face. Where five-year olds sob over a screen while you are powerless to do anything about it. Where fear sits like a pit in your gut over an unknown future for kids you absolutely love (even when your “professional boundaries” tell you not to get so attached).


When big changes come barreling in like a freight train and your weak attempts at slowing things down feel meaningless.


I feel “ragey.” (My kids and I make up words all the time.) There’s like a tiny furnace sitting in my chest, burning its way through my veins and settling in my throat.


And it’s joy week.


Bahumbug.


As I was having my own five-year old meltdown earlier, the Lord called to mind an unexpected passage: Mary’s Song, the Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55). I don’t know about you, but my image of Mary growing up was a gentle one. A soft, submissive, lullaby-singer who for some reason was always wearing light blue. Any song belonging to her must be just as sweet and innocent.


That’s not the Mary that we see here.


Right in the middle of the craziest thing that has ever happened to her (or possibly anyone), faced with scandal and danger and unbelievable change, she sings,


“My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked down with favor on the lowliness of his servant… 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…”


Those are some bold words coming from the mouth of a young girl from the middle of nowhere.


They’re prophetic- messianic. Mary knows the promises of God and has seen them playing out in her own life as he has chosen her to mother the one who has and will be her liberator. She certainly doesn’t get it fully, but nevertheless she chooses to rejoice and praise the God who keeps his promises.


Even when her life is in danger.


Even when the scandal could destroy her family.


Even though everything she ever knew or hoped is about to change forever.


So here is joy this week, friends: a choice. A choice to celebrate in advance that God will do what he has promised.


That he will lift up the lowly six-year-old in need of a safe home.


That he will fill up the lonely heart of a four-year-old who misses his mom.


That he has not forgotten the least of these, the little children, the ones of us who are desperate for his help and healing.


Rejoice.


#advent2020 #joy #preachingtomyself

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