Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Advent

(I Samuel 1:24-28; Luke 1:46-56)

If we were with Mary when she exclaimed, “He has cast down the mighty…and lifted up the lowly,” we might have asked, “Where? When?”  These things have not yet happened.  Jesus has not yet done his work.  However, Mary is not recording history; she is preaching gospel.  She takes her experience and projects it onto the world.  Because she, a lowly maiden, has been exalted by God, she knows others will be as well.

Mary here is not unlike John preaching in the desert.  He says he baptizes with water, but the one to come will baptize with the Holy Spirit.  John means that the conversion sealed by his baptism will be magnified with the Holy Spirit. Similarly, John Winthrop preached to the Puritans as they were about to sail to America.  In a famous discourse he said they would be blessed tenfold if they kept to the Lord’s ways.

This is a time of blessing.  We should not bemoan too long the Covid virus but anticipate its blessings.  We can make this a truly memorable Christmas.  Then we will cherish it in the future, perhaps more than any other.  We can read at home of Christ’s birth in Luke and then pray for travelers and the poor.  We can take time to listen to family members, to understand their perceptions, and to reconcile grievances. We can bake cookies, take them at the door of the isolated, and wave to them in the window.  In these ways the gospel preached of Christ will be fulfilled.