By Russ Siders
Recently I heard a college professor discuss two technological developments that occurred at roughly the same time in history: the invention of the telescope and the microscope. She noted that the telescope expanded our universe by enlarging our view of the sun, moon, planets, and stars. It made us seem much smaller in comparison to the far reaches of space. At the same time, the microscope opened up another world right under our nose, the world of microbes, cells, and germs. It made us seem much bigger, and more vulnerable at the same time. Both inventions gave human beings a new perspective on our place in the grander scheme of things.
The birth of Jesus has a similar effect on our lives, as Mary shows us through her song of praise. “My soul magnifies the Lord,” she exclaims, “for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.” Then she goes on to say, “From now on all generations will call me blessed; for the Mighty One has done great things for me.” It’s almost as if Mary is saying, “God has become magnified, so much bigger to me than I ever supposed God could be.” Why? “Because God has focused on my minuscule life. The Mighty One has looked upon my tiny existence and has chosen to magnify my significance far beyond its true dimensions.”
This has all come about because of the incarnation, God becoming flesh within Mary through the person of Jesus. The birth of Jesus Christ is both a telescope and a microscope. Through his coming, the greatness of God’s love and the wisdom of God’s plan to save sinners rises in full view and becomes vast and unfathomable. At the same time, Jesus’ arrival means that we are not insignificant specks in space and time. God has been mindful of our humble state, our sin, our need, and God has done something great for us. In Jesus, God not only sees us, but God also acts on our behalf to deliver and lift us up. God fulfills that ancient promise to Abraham, to gather a people as numerous as the stars in the sky, a people who will also “shine like stars” as they reflect to a crooked world what God has done in saving them (Philippians 2:15).
Is your view of God too small? Look through the lens of Jesus, and your soul will magnify the Lord. Do you feel invisible? Look at Jesus, and you will see the great things that the Lord has done for you, is doing in you, and wants to do through you.
Prayer: Be magnified, God. You have looked upon our humble estate and decided to shine through us anyway. Be magnified to those who need to see your bigness, as well as those who need to understand their significance to you.
Russ Siders is pastor of Sunrise Community Church in Tulare, California. The 2016 Advent devotions were written by RCA church planters and parent churches.