Advent Devotional - December 14
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...
I have heard all my life that Mary was the chosen one.
By the third century, she was called ‘theotokos’: the God-bearer. Mary was so good, and so young, and so innocent, that she was selected to be the ‘vessel’ to carry God’s son. As time has passed, I have come to see Mary in a new light.
Mary is more than the vessel that carried the Christ child. She is a person. She is Jesus’ mother, and as his earthly mother she had a hand in developing his identity as a human. She was by his side, literally, cradle to grave.
Before Mary was Jesus’ mother, she was – as are we all – a human being. And, as a human being, she was given free will. She had a choice. When Gabriel met Mary, calling her “favored one”, she didn’t respond. Then Gabriel added: “Do not be afraid…you will bear a son…” Mary responded this time with a logical question: how does this make sense? Gabriel explained a third time, and now Mary responds: “Here I am, the servant of the Lord. Let it be with me according to your word.”
In other words, Mary was not forced into her role. God chose Mary, but he didn’t force her cooperation. Mary may have been an adolescent peasant, considered the property of her father or her betrothed, but she was not God’s puppet. She agreed to be God’s partner.
Hearing the Magnificat, we know she had a solid understanding of the God of Israel. Just like the Psalmists, she recounts God’s mercy and God’s promises; just like the prophets, she speaks the Word of the Lord. God is the warrior who brings deliverance to Israel. God is the Mighty One who shows mercy to the lowly.
Mary’s Magnificat sets this Word in motion, and creates a picture for us of God’s vision for the Kingdom. Once spoken, the Word of the Lord has a life of its own, thanks to a vessel who wasn’t so lowly after all.
Lord, help me to respond like Mary to God’s call.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Rev. Margaret Watkins is a Parish Associate at Preston Hollow. She and her husband Jim have been members of PHPC for 20 years.
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