Advent devotions: December 14th
By Liz Testa
And Mary said,
“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.
Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for the Mighty One has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
His mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
He has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
and lifted up the lowly;
he has filled the hungry with good things,
and sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
according to the promise he made to our ancestors,
to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”
Can you imagine what it must have felt like for Mary to be chosen by God to become the mother of the Messiah? What a sense of awe and wonder must have come over her—as well as a good measure of astonishment and even fear. Another person might have run in the opposite direction upon hearing such news, but Mary stayed calm and sensible, and most importantly, she listened. She listened to what the angel told her about God’s plan, about the presence of the Holy Spirit, and about the great impact this unfolding story would have on the whole world.
The angel also told her about her cousin Elizabeth, who was also pregnant unexpectedly. Mary listened to all this and moved forward with purpose. Whatever her initial feelings, she quickly went to visit Elizabeth, where she found joyful confirmation, affirmation, and companionship. This must have given her great confidence and peace, and allowed her to embrace her “chosen” status fully, resulting in her sharing this beautiful song of praise, known as the Magnificat.
The words of Mary’s song echo her own transformation from a startled, questioning young woman to a purpose-filled, trusting mother-to-be. When the Holy Spirit covered her, she not only became pregnant with our Lord and Savior, but was empowered with a deep sense of purpose, giving her holy boldness to embrace God’s favor and see herself among the faithful, in the family tree as one of those who fear God from generation to generation (v. 50).
During this Advent season, as we once again await the coming of the Christ child, how might we embrace the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives, emboldening us, like Mary, to live into God’s plan for us?
Prayer: Holy and loving God, thank you for the example of Mary, who listened, believed and embraced your plan for her life. Like Mary, empower us to live confidently, joyfully, and boldly into our callings so that others may experience the liberating love, hope, joy, and peace of the one we call the Messiah. In the name of Emmanuel, God with us, we pray. Amen.
Liz Testa is the RCA’s coordinator for Women’s Transformation and Leadership