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Advent Readings: Day 18

For this Advent season we offer you a Bible reading for each day which points to the first coming of the Lord Jesus at Christmas and his return in glory!

Luke 1:39 - 56

39At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, 40where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted
Elizabeth. 41When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! 43But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. 45Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”

46And Mary said:

“My soul glorifies the Lord
47     and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has been mindful
of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
49     for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
holy is his name.
50 His mercy extends to those who fear him,
from generation to generation.
51 He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
52 He has brought down rulers from their thrones
but has lifted up the humble.
53 He has filled the hungry with good things
but has sent the rich away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
remembering to be merciful
55 to Abraham and his descendants forever,
just as he promised our ancestors.”
56 Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months and then returned home.

A few comments

This must have been quite some baby-shower. But what on earth would you buy for the last prophet of the Old Testament and God in human flesh…?!? The focus though of this passage is on what God gives us, and not the other way around.

Note in passing the prominence and honour given to women in Luke’s gospel in particular. The different roles that the Bible assigns to men and women does not reflect a difference in value or importance.

At the heart of Mary’s prayer is her recognition that she has this matchless privilege of giving birth to the Son of God not because she is worthy, but because God is gracious (48). It’s always that way with God,

he has brought down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted those of humble estate.

When he grew up, her baby would declare that in the kingdom of God ‘many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first’ (Mark 10:31)

Point for Prayer

Pray that we would be humble before God: that we would seek his mercy and his blessing, not demand our rights.