The Advent Collective – 23 December 2020

A daily reflection drawing from Advent Bible passages – to help us grow as we live out our faith in the everyday moments of life.

Welcome to day 24 of the Advent Collective.

Who’s your mum?

Since we moved into our house in Walkley we have had well over 30 people live with us. Currently Sam Watson from the staff team is part of our family and part of our bubble.

Each house guest that comes to stay is subjected to a tough interview by the children. And although they have got bigger, smarter and more savvy, the questions asked have become something of legend… of tradition. The first question, that dates from the time Duncan Vaughan came to stay, is always the same: Who is your mum? The second… and a tough follow up question: does she wear glasses?

Today we find ourselves with Mary, Jesus’ mum, pregnant and visiting her relative Elizabeth – who is also pregnant with John the Baptist. And… As we heard yesterday from Joel… when they met, Elizabeth’s baby jumped for joy in the womb. In response Mary sings – the Song of Mary, or the Magnificat! ‘My soul magnifies the Lord… It’s an anthem of praise, an expression of joy and it probably became an early hymn, much as you would find in the psalms.

But on a deeper level it echoes through time and scripture to the songs of the women of Israel. Songs that were sung at huge turning points in the history of the Israelite nation.

At the very beginning, the start of the family, the beginning of the 12 tribes of Jacob. Leah, one of Jacob’s wives and a mother of the seedling nation… sang that all the women would call her happy or blessed! And here Mary sings “From now on all generations will call me blessed”

And hundreds of years later… at the moment that Israel became a nation… when they fled from Egypt and escaped through the parting of the red sea – the Egyptian army wiped out… at that moment, when slaves were set free, when they set out into the desert to be fashioned into a people, Miriam – Moses sister – sang a song of victory, a song of praise…

And then at the moment that Israel became a Kingdom.. a nation lost and without direction… another mum, Hannah sang an anthem of praise. She took her son Samuel… dedicated him to God… left him in the house of the Lord… to be raised by Eli the priest… and this boy Samuel, would grow to become a great prophet… a great priest… Samuel would anoint the first king over Israel – Saul – and anoint the second – the great King David.

So this isn’t just a song of praise… this isn’t just a private moment between two mums to be.

No, this is a song of victory. This is a song signifying the beginning of a new era… a momentous turning point in the history of Israel… and more than that… a turning point in the history of the world!

All that had been promised to the nation of Israel… all the promise of blessing, of peace, of justice, of redemption, of freedom… all the fullness life lived with God, empowered, enabled, beautiful and blessed… all that had

been promised to Israel now focussed on one man… one child… one baby… growing in his mother’s womb.

But the beginning of a new era also signals the end of the old… We cannot embrace the new… and expect the old to remain. Jesus would ignite a revolution: revolution of the heart… a reordering of power and a redistribution of wealth – Luke 1:51-53:

he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. 52 He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. 53 He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty.

As we approach Christmas day… the coming of Jesus… as we’ve reflected on the song of Mary… we have opportunity to take a moment, to pause, to consider the impact of this little baby on the life we lead. We want to fully embrace the new era, to be part of the revolution; we want to sing songs of victory, to take our place in the court of the new king. But are we prepared to let go of the old? Are we prepared to pay the cost, to tear up the script, to allow Jesus and his revolution to sweep us up and carry us into new ways of being, into new ways of doing? Are we going to settle and cling to what is familiar or will we continue to let go, to embrace the unknown, and press more fully into the life and blessing of God?

Let’s pray.

Father, as we wait for the coming of your son, I ask that you would speak to each one of us. Father, in this time of transition, in this time of unsettling I ask that you would shake from us everything that holds us back. That you would show us a glimpse of your kingdom, and teach us your ways. Come and wake us, stir our hearts, focus our minds… lead us deeper into your presence that we might be overcome by your love and willing surrender everything to you. Amen.