“And my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.’”

Mary’s Magnificat, Luke 1:47 (NRSV)

Here Am I

Archangel Gabriel had addressed Mary with the words, “Greetings, favored one!” Already, that tells us a lot about Mary’s courage and sense of presence. Mary was favored by God in heaven and blessed among all the women of earth.

Gabriel told her not to fear, because he had come bearing good news: she would bring forth the Son of the Most High God, the promised Messiah, conceived by the Holy Spirit. When she heard it, Mary squared her young shoulders and said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.”

There are not that many people in the Bible who said those words to God after receiving a commission. The one who most famously did was Isaiah, in the sanctuary of the temple, before a vision of the Lord, who filled the temple with God’s glory. “Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?’ And I said, ‘Here am I; send me!’”

Mary surely understood the implications of being an unwed mother in a culture where that might bring death by stoning. She knew the risk of losing her betrothal, what it might mean to be as a widow, without husband or family homestead, but she also had towering faith in the power, provision, and promise of Almighty God. This was a time to rejoice and sing praise.

Christmas Carol

Isaiah ’twas foretold it,
The Rose I have in mind;
With Mary we behold it,
The virgin mother kind.
To show God’s love aright,
She bore to men a Savior,
When half spent was the night.

“Lo, How A Rose E’er Blooming” German carol (15th century)

Prayer

O Lord, Your love is already a great reward here on earth. Help us to say “here am I” with rejoicing when You commission us.

“Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven.”

Jesus’s Beatitudes, Matthew 5:12 (NRSV)
Giuseppe Maria Crespi BOLOGNA 1665 – 1747 THE NATIVITY | By Giuseppe Maria CrespiPublic Domain

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