Here are the first few parts of Mary’s song, if you missed them:
Mary’s Song Part One and a big ole Christmas tree
Mary’s Song Part Two: A Prayer for Sandy Hook, and Gossip Girl (Trust me, it fits)
Mary’s Song Part Three, Sandy Hook, and the Heidelberg Catechism
Mary’s Song: Luke 1:46-55
And Mary said, “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior. For he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed for the Mighty One has done great things for meâ€”Holy is his name. His mercy extends to those who fear him from generation to generation. He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts, He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever even as he said to our fathers.
Mary is praising God for breaking his silence, for noticing her, for his might and holiness, and ultimately Mary is praising God for this baby boy, Jesus.
Let me just stop here and say as an asideâ€”Iâ€™m from Oklahoma and we say, Bless yerrrr heart.
And I mean, BLESS MARY’S HEART. I donâ€™t know if she really rode on a donkey or if thatâ€™s just in books and movies, but either way I feel so sorry for her. She is nine months pregnant, huge, probably has cankles and stretch marks, definitely has a baby sitting on her bladder–And she has to take this two day journey to Bethlehem!
She ends up giving birth outside in a place for animals, because apparently, thereâ€™s no gentleman in Bethlehem who would give up their room for this poor pregnant woman. Then after her baby is bornâ€”as she is recovering from birth and learning to nurse and not sleeping very well and dealing with hormones and her body going back to normalâ€”these strange men start to show up. Shepherds and wise men come to worship her son. I donâ€™t even want my dad there right after I give birth, let alone some strange man.
Mary wins the woman of the eon contest every single time!
Back to the point. Luke writes in chapter two verse nineteen, that after all of this takes place; after her son is born and He is indeed the Savior, Christ, and Lord, that â€œMary treasured up all of these things and pondered them in her heart. â€œ
Mary saved these precious early moments with her new baby in order to preserve them the way only a woman who has experienced anything like this could. In Greek the word â€œtreasuredâ€ has this little nuance; Mary isnâ€™t just scrapbooking memories here.
She is saving them in order to protect and defend them.
As if they are a sacred, yet temporary, treasure.
As if these moments are fleeting.
A few days later Mary and Joseph travel to the temple to present Jesus (as was custom to do with a firstborn baby boy). Mary is told that a sword will one day pierce her soul because of who Jesus will grow up to become.
Mary is treasuring these early moments with her son because she knows that He doesnâ€™t belong to her. While all of us on some level understand that our loved ones donâ€™t belong to us, some of you have faithfully carried, cared for, or prayed for children only to lose them. The parents of Sandy Hook Elementary School certainly understand this. Mary can relate.
There is no way that Mary knew what her precious boy would go through, but the same prophets that spoke of the Messiah also spoke of a time when the Messiah would suffer. A time when he would be oppressed and afflicted, led like a lamb to the slaughter, for our sin.
Maryâ€™s son is the same God who was spoken about by ancient prophets thousands of years ago, the same God who lived a sinless life, humbled himself, took our sin and shame on the cross, died, rose again, and will return so that we can join with Mary and respond to Him in praise.
Jesus came as the fulfillment of ancient hopes and as the answer to Israel’s generations of waiting. He came as the commencement of a new world order, where the poor are filled with good things and the outcasts of society are uplifted. Jesus came as a sign that no matter who is in power, God is in control. He came to change his peopleâ€™s lives and to rescue them from oppression.
But he also came to do that for you and meâ€”He alone has the power to rescue us from sin and shame, to turn our darkness into something beautiful, to give us hope, and to do something new in our lives.
What God has done for Mary, what God has done for his people, Israel, God has done for you.
|(Illustration by Donna Green from
Smithmark’s publication of The Velveteen Rabbit, 1995)
One of my kidsâ€™ favorite Christmas books is The Velveteen Rabbit. Itâ€™s the story of a stuffed bunny who becomes real when his owner believes in him. My boys love the part when the velveteen rabbit is thrown out and all hope seems lost…but the nursery fairy rescues him and tells him that sheâ€™ll make him real!
The bunny asks, â€œBut wasnâ€™t I real before?â€
The fairy responds, â€œYou were real to the boy because he loved you. Now you shall be real to everyone.â€
The story of Christmas is this: Jesus is NOT the velveteen rabbit.
He does not need our belief to become real. He is God period, with or without our belief.
But, He loves us so much that when we believe Him the way Mary did, we become real.
When we put our trust in Jesus, we become people like the prophet Isaiah spoke about who have lived in darkness but have now seen a great light. We become people whose burdens are shattered. We become people who have hope because unto us a child is born, a son is given, and the government is on his shoulders. We become people who have a wonderful counselor, a prince of peace, and a King whose reign will never end.
Every night during the advent season, my husband and I turn off all the lights and read our boys the Christmas story from Luke. We’ll whisper, “The world is in darkness and we are waiting for the light of the world.”
When itâ€™s finally Christmas Eve, after our boys go to bed, we deck the inside of the house in Christmas lights. When the boys wake up, yes, they are mostly excited about the presentsâ€¦But there are lights everywhere. We want them to understand that although there has been a time of waiting and a time of darkness, the light of the world is here! Jesus is here! And it is a time of celebration!
It may feel like youâ€™ve been waiting on God forever to answer your prayers. You may feel like you are pregnant and in labor for nothing. You may be coming to Christmas doubting your faith, alone, broken-hearted, grieving, full of stress and anxiety, burnt-out, dealing with financial woes or illness, dealing with family drama, or personal sin. If you are coming to Christmas in a place that feels dark, I want you to know that the answer to all of your longings has already comeâ€”
In the birth, the death, and the resurrection of the Savior, Christ and Lord, Jesus.
This Christmas we are invited to join with Mary and praise God speaking to us, for noticing us, for showing us his might and holiness, and ultimately for sending his son Jesus for us.
Blessed are you if you believe that what the Lord has said to you will be accomplished, because it already has.
If you haven’t heard, anyone who wants to honor the Sandy Hook victims are encouraged
to place luminaries on their driveway this evening.
I’ll be taking a break for the holidays, but I’m excited to join you again in 2013.
In the meantime…May you live Shamelessly!