Luke 1.39-55 (Common English Bible)
Mary got up and hurried to a city in the Judean highlands. She entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. With a loud voice she blurted out, “God has blessed you above all women, and he has blessed the child you carry. Why do I have this honor, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as I heard your greeting, the baby in my womb jumped for joy. Happy is she who believed that the Lord would fulfill the promises he made to her.”
Mary praises God
“With all my heart I glorify the Lord!
In the depths of who I am I rejoice in God my savior.
He has looked with favor on the low status of his servant.
Look! From now on, everyone will consider me highly favored
because the mighty one has done great things for me.
Holy is his name.
He shows mercy to everyone,
from one generation to the next,
who honors him as God.
He has shown strength with his arm.
He has scattered those with arrogant thoughts and proud inclinations.
He has pulled the powerful down from their thrones
and lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things
and sent the rich away empty-handed.
He has come to the aid of his servant Israel,
remembering his mercy,
just as he promised to our ancestors,
to Abraham and to Abraham’s descendants forever.”
As I write this, it’s still dark outside, the cider is mulling, the tree is glowing, and the presents are stacked carefully in age groups. It’s still quiet, but any minute now people will begin arriving and the church property will be full–full of people who are looking for something. Some of them have been here before, others have not. Some are hungry, some bring their neighbors, some need gifts to give their children. Some are volunteers, some are guests. For a few hours this morning, we will be the living magnificat–a great leveling for the glory of God. The hungry will be filled, those in need will be served, the lowly will be lifted up, and many of us who come to do the serving will find our own hearts broken and re-made, emptied and re-filled. In the sacrament of cider, Santa, and pre-packed food boxes, in the holy moments of greeting people, offering hospitality, and hearing the story of another, we will meet Jesus. Or be Jesus. Or both! Christ will come again, just as he promised, in moments like these, when love and grace are offered alongside food and drink, and together with all God’s people we find refreshment and hope.
O God of all people, walk with us this day as we seek to reflect your image to our neighbors. Give us patience, courage, and love–and maybe a smidgen of that loaves-and-fishes miracle! Help us to be the place where your love is made visible, your grace given flesh, your hope made real. Make us a living magnificat, a new incarnation for a new day. We pray in the name of the One who is to come. Amen.