20 December 2015 … Luke 1:39-45(46-55)
“His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty.”
Reading the Magnificat the week before Christmas keeps us grounded in the past and the future simultaneously. In the 8th Century BCE, Isaiah writes in Chapter 11, “But with righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth. He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked.” Again in Chapter 13, Isaiah writes, “I will punish the world for its evil, the wicked for their sins. I will put an end to the arrogance of the haughty and will humble the pride of the ruthless.” When Jesus begins his ministry, he quotes from Joel when he tells folks he has come to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and free the prisoners from their chains.
These are important words for us as we prepare to celebrate the coming of Jesus. They remind us that Jesus was born homeless, quickly became a refugee, and eventually became the man who would change history for all time. These are important words for us as we prepare to celebrate Christmas in the midst of the chaos of the current struggles for power that are disenfranchising multiple populations, and creating ever more hungry and homeless people. These words give us hope.
To quote more modern prophets:
“Permanence, perseverance and persistence in spite of all obstacles, discouragements, and impossibilities: It is this, that in all things distinguishes the strong soul from the weak.” (Thomas Carlyle)
“Only the weak are cruel. Gentleness can only be expected from the strong.” (Leo Buscaglia)
“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” (Martin Luther King Jr.)