Saturday, December 22, 2018
Light three candles…begin your prayer time by lighting the first two purple candle, the Hope and Peace candles…and light the rose or pink candle…the Joy Candle.
READ: 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 forever.”
Okay, so don’t hate me if I step on toes, but I loath #blessed or #iamblessed or #soblessed. Let me defend myself. I feel like the word “blessed” has been stolen from us as Christians the way “Christmas” has been stolen or “Easter” has been stolen to become so commercialized. It has altered the meaning. When I personally see these hashtags on social media they are paired with images of selfies on a beach or eating something exotic or doing something that might cost a fortune. #blessed has come to mean #iamprivileged.
In today’s lesson, Mary sings a song of blessing. The Magnificat as it is called.
Mary is not #sittingonabeach. Mary is hashtag about to give birth to the Messiah. Her community is going to shun her for sex out of wedlock. Her life is going to change forever. Her life is #poor, #servanthood, #lowly and let’s be very clear…#headed toward the great grief of watching her Son die on the cross. That is not #privilege.
Mary’s version of blessing is true blessing, holy blessing. She is praising God for the gift of a Messiah who will level the playing field. All the #privileged folks will become #lowly. And all the #hungry will be #fed. That might sound harsh for the privileged, like a role reversal for society, but the reality is…it opens the privileged to see God before stuff. God before power. True blessing has nothing to do with our stature, wealth, health or comfort. True blessing is the trust and knowledge that Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, loves us despite our #privilege. God’s only Son forgives us for our selfishness and inability to see our neighbors who are hurting and poor. God’s only Son never stops working to transform us into the type of people who look more like him. God never gives up on us – from the manager to the sky, we are surrounded, protected, loved, forgiven – that is #blessed. Thanks be to God.
God of Blessing, you have been working for our blessing without ceasing. Thank you for sending your Son into this world as a tiny baby through the faithfulness of Mary. Thank you for loving us despite our privilege or selfishness. Thank you for remaining the true blessing for us during this great season of Advent and the seasons of our lives. Amen.
What one Christmas song most helps you remember you are blessed by God? Share with a friend or in the comments below.
About Mitzie…Mitzie Schafer is a Deacon in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. She has a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from Florida Gulf Coast University and a Master of Art in Religion from Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary with a concentration in Christian Education and Christian Spirituality. She has been writing curriculum and teaching faith formation for more than ten years. Mitzie’s faith is grounded in the belief that God is the initiator and we are the respondent. That God’s yes is always bigger than our no. That being created in the image of the Creator, makes us by our very nature, creative. And that God LOVES ALL people.
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