“according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.’”

Mary’s Magnificat, Luke 1:52 (NRSV)

Faithful Forever

One of the distinctives of Judaism is this tracing back to a single progenitor of faith and fatherhood, for Abraham is both the predecessor of a people and the pioneer of monotheism. In the conclusion to her magnificent praise to Mighty God, Mary called upon the first promise the Lord made to Abraham. “I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing,” God had promised this founding patriarch. “I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse.” God would surround the people descended from Abraham with protection and care.

But the promise Mary indicated came at the end of God’s prophetic consecration: “and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” It was a promise millennia old, and would extend into eternity.

Jesus returned to this promise in His instructions to His closest followers and students. They were to be the instrument of Jesus’s blessing, the promised blessing of God. Matthew remembered Jesus telling them to make disciples of those from every kind of background, to baptize them into the faith, and to teach them to live by everything Jesus had taught. John remembered Jesus saying to feed and tend His lambs.

By His Spirit, Jesus is now with us, and will be with us forever.

Christmas Carol

At his feet the six-winged seraph,
cherubim with sleepless eye,
veil their faces to the presence
as with ceaseless voice they cry:
“Alleluia, alleluia!
Alleluia, Lord Most High!”

“Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence” Gerard Moultrie (1864)

Prayer

How grateful we are, o Lord, that You are present in every place, even in the darkest valley, or the loneliest wilderness, or in the slough of despond. You are with us and for us forever.

“And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Jesus’s Great Commission, Matthew 28:20 (NRSV)
Twelve-Year-Old Jesus in the Temple | By James Tissot – Online Collection of Brooklyn Museum; Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 2006, 00.159.40_PS1.jpg, Public Domain

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