Scripture: Luke 1:46-55
Crowded stores. Long lines. Hurried people. My guess is that this week before Christmas is all about dashing from place to place to get ready for the big day. In all that dashing, have you remembered to do something kind for someone else today? Yesterday? This week? Even a small act of service can bring hope to someone else.
As I am writing this, the church is full of small acts of hope. There are coats overflowing from cardboard boxes, there are mountains of gifts under the tree for the Methodist Children’s Home, there are stacks of Salvation Army Christmas Stockings, and there are piles Seafarer’s Boxes. Each of these collected items are small ways to say, “You were not forgotten” and “You were cared for this season.” In the lives of these recipients, these items are beacons of hope.
Mary’s Song that we read today is the song of a servant, a servant who willingly and joyfully enters into the work she has been called to do. Mary groups herself with the lowly, acknowledging that she is not worthy of the high calling she has received. None of us are worthy either, and yet, we are all called to be bearers of hope, to be servants of Christ.
Consider this week what it means to be a servant, what it means to carry the hope of Christ into the world. Can you think of a time in your life when you have served someone else? Can you think of a time when you have been served? How is hope given in service?
Mary’s Song makes it undeniably clear that God favors the small, the weak, the lowly, and the downcast. God pays attention to the hungry and the poor. Friends, I’m not so sure that we align with the heart of God on this matter all the time, especially at the holidays. We may be more prone to give at this time of year so long as it does not disrupt our own celebrations. We may be more aware of the poor in our midst, but we might not want take the time for a conversation or to really see someone else’s need. We make distinctions between “us” and “those people” who are receiving our care. To have a heart that is truly a servant’s heart, we have to allow God to change those attitudes. We must invite God to show us how we are also poor and lowly, in need of the gift of hope.
My prayer for you this week is that you would find hope and that you would spread hope. Hope is not a big, grand gesture. Hope might be a smile, a visit, a word of encouragement, or a cup of coffee. Hope starts small—like a baby in a manger.
Each reading says something about the hope that is coming in Christ. This week we will conclude the week by reading the nativity accounts in the Gospels.
December 21 — Psalm 96
December 22— Titus 2:11-14
December 23— Matthew 1:18-25
December 24— Luke 2:1-16
December 25— John 1:1-14
After you read, consider the following questions:
Where do you hear hope in this Scripture?
For whom or what or how are you prompted to pray today?
How can you live more hopefully this week?
Prayer: Gracious God, your servant Mary discovered new life growing within her and knew it to be your promised presence. In tender reverence for the holy mystery of your Incarnation, may we be as a womb for your blessed presence, ready to receive and nourish your Word in our lives, open to the stirrings of your Spirit within us. May we faithfully bear your love and hope in the world, that by your grace Christ may be born in us. —Steve Garnaas-Holmes