Art by Emerson Yarborough

Luke 1: 46-55 (CEB)

46 Mary said,

“With all my heart I glorify the Lord!
47     In the depths of who I am I rejoice in God my savior.
48 He has looked with favor on the low status of his servant.
    Look! From now on, everyone will consider me highly favored
49         because the mighty one has done great things for me.
Holy is his name.
50     He shows mercy to everyone,
        from one generation to the next,
        who honors him as God.
51 He has shown strength with his arm.
    He has scattered those with arrogant thoughts and proud inclinations.
52     He has pulled the powerful down from their thrones
        and lifted up the lowly.
53 He has filled the hungry with good things
    and sent the rich away empty-handed.
54 He has come to the aid of his servant Israel,
        remembering his mercy,
55     just as he promised to our ancestors,
        to Abraham and to Abraham’s descendants forever.”


Geography, location, and our social backgrounds matter. The way we show up in the world – our race, our religious experiences, our income levels, the ways our bodies work, the people we love, our access to education, our family structure – impacts how we experience God. When the angel Gabriel came to speak to Mary, to ask for her assent to be the one to carry the child of God, Mary wasn’t a generic person in a generic time and place. She was chosen because of her specifics – she was a young woman with a deep connection to the Holy, a member of a family with few material resources, living in a country that was occupied by a violent military. Mary knew discrimination, poverty, and oppression – and precisely because of those experiences, she was chosen to bring Holy into the world.

When Mary visits her cousin Elizabeth, they both exult when they recognize the specific ways God chose each of them. Mary sings this beautiful song known as the Magnificat, extolling the ways that God chooses those the world names lowly and brings down those the world makes mighty. This song doesn’t shy away from naming the specifics of who God makes a home with. Our backgrounds, our experiences, make a difference in our life with God.

Reflection Questions:

  • This week, how can you name the ways your background and experiences have helped – or hindered – a connection with God?
  • Where do you find yourself in our current world?
  • Where do you see God as work?
  • How can your specifics align with Mary’s song?
  • In what ways is God choosing you, too, here and now?
Categories: Advent 2021


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