Advent Devotion #3: Oh Come, Let Us Adore Him1
O come let us adore him, O come let us adore him, O come let us adore him, Christ the Lord....
“Jesus,” the angel said I am to give the child the name Jesus. “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” Those words danced through my mind as I traveled to Elizabeth’s home. So much I don’t understand.... “The Holy Spirit will come upon you....” As I was greeted by Elizabeth it was as if a radiance enveloped her and she cried out “Blessed!” Me? Blessed? She said I was blessed because of the child I was carrying, because I believed that the words spoken by the angel Gabriel from the Lord would be fulfilled.
My dear Elizabeth, well beyond the age to bear children, yet here you are: radiant, beautiful, full of child. Here you are just as the angel said and yes, I believe. I wanted to dance with dear Elizabeth. I grabbed her hands, but all of a sudden, a joyful burning deep within my breast poured from my mouth. “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior...” The words flowed from a reservoir deep within me. I, a most humble servant, would now be called “blessed.” The mercy of the Most Holy, Yahweh, will be for those who fear him from generation to generation. Through his mighty work he has brought down the mighty and exalted the humble. He has filled the hungry, he has remembered his mercy just as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his offspring... this, this child.
Mary put her hands over her abdomen as she retold her story to Luke, word for word just as she had spoken it to Elizabeth so many years ago. She is remembered for the beauty and passion of this song. And she has been “blessed among women.” But is this blessing just for her? Is Mary to be exalted above her humble estate to be an example for us to follow? Should we all want to be Mary at the Christmas pageant?
Through her story we learn that nothing is impossible with God; we see God’s grace bestowed on a humble servant; we see her journey of false shame, loss, and grief culminating in the cruel death of her son. Her blessing was interwoven with unspeakable pain. How shall we ponder Mary’s story as she held within her heart the mystery of Jesus’ birth?
Perhaps it is best to let Jesus answer that question. In Luke 11:27-28, a woman who heard his teaching cries out, “Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts at which you nursed.” It sounds like this is a reference to Elizabeth’s prophetic word in chapter 1:42. But Jesus doesn’t go there. In fact, he deflects the blessing from his mother to “all those who hear the word of God and keep it.”
As we often do, we allow the parts of the Christmas story to stand alone at this time of year. Yet the richness of the Christmas story is rooted in the whole story of scripture beginning in Genesis 1 when we see this same Jesus, as part of the Godhead, in wisdom creating this vast universe. (See John 1:1-3)
Perhaps with me you hear the whispers of the blessing in Genesis 3:15. God tells the serpent that the offspring of the woman will crush his head. The offspring promised to Abraham and the unending kingdom promised to David all point to Jesus, and now we are blessed if we follow Jesus and hear God’s word and keep it.
May you have a fresh awareness of being blessed this Christmas season as you ponder and meditate on the Word of God.
For a link to a devotional guide to walk you through the Advent Season, click HERE
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