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Sunday, December 22, 2013

low estate

46 And Mary said,
“My soul magnifies the Lord,
47     and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.
    For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
49 for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
    and holy is his name.
50 And his mercy is for those who fear him
    from generation to generation.
51 He has shown strength with his arm;
    he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;
52 he has brought down the mighty from their thrones
    and exalted those of humble estate;
53 he has filled the hungry with good things,
    and the rich he has sent away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
    in remembrance of his mercy,
55 as he spoke to our fathers,
    to Abraham and to his offspring forever.”
                                              ~Luke 1:46-55
Magnificat.  It is a Latin word which means [My soul] magnifies.  It is also the name by which this prayer of Mary has been known through the ages.  It is truly one of the great prayers of all time.  It is the prayer of an innocent and obedient young girl who decided to say yes to God, even in the most ridiculous, challenging, and overwhelming of circumstances.  It is a prayer of trust.  It is a prayer of surrender.  But most of all it is a prayer of total openness.  It is a prayer that reveals a heart that is held wide open to whatever God might desire, and to however he might choose to show up.  It is a prayer that literally says, Come, Lord Jesus!  Come to us, come among us, come be born in us.  It is a prayer of invitation.  And if we too desire God to be born in us this day, and this season, maybe it is a prayer we should pay attention to as well.  Because for God to be born in us there seems a certain posture that is required.  It seems that God has a preference for the lowly, the vulnerable, and the small.  It is in those kinds of places that he seems most likely to be born.  Just look at the prayer: My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.  And then a little later: he has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate.  The word used here for humble comes from the root tapeinos which means "to make low."  Somehow Mary's low estate provided the perfect heart (womb) for God to be born in.  Somehow there was room in that kind of heart, room that is typically taken up in those of us that are full of ourselves.  Taken up with our pride, and our ambition, and our reputation.  It seems that the proud, the rulers, and the rich have a difficult time making space within them for this to birth to occur.  Therefore, may we never become too big, or too high, or too occupied to miss what (and how) Jesus wants to come to us this season; how he wants to be born in us.  May we pray this incredible prayer, both in word and in spirit, with Mary, that our hearts might be open and prepared to receive him, whenever and however he comes.

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