My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed . . .
Songs of Praise
Mary is visiting her cousin Elizabeth, and the two women are overwhelmed by the gifts that God is giving to each of them. Mary breaks forth into song about how wonderful God is and her gratitude toward him for the great things he has done for her. She is starting to understand the amazing work he is doing through her. She has been chosen to carry the Son of God! She rejoices even though she refers to herself as a humble servant. Despite her humble position, she will be honored by all generations. Generations will see her as an example of a simple human touched by divine power and presence.
How many times have you felt unworthy of a blessing or a gift? This Advent season delivers an opportunity to reflect on the many gifts with which we have been blessed and to rejoice in God. Take a few moments to read Mary’s Song of Praise for yourself. Reflect on God’s blessings in your life. Are you rejoicing in them?
The only people whose soul can truly magnify the Lord are people such as Elizabeth and Mary—people who acknowledge their lowly estate and are overwhelmed by God’s choosing them for his work.
Pray: “Dear God, today I ask for a fuller understanding and appreciation of your many gifts. Increase my faith, and allow your works to be done through me.”
These last words of an elderly gentleman are truly breathtaking. Mr. Broome was granted a vision from God prior to his passing. He pleads eloquently for others to accept Jesus Christ as their personal savior and turn away from materialism and sin. The audio is a bit rough on this video but just turn it down and read the captions. You will be glad you did.
Be The Light
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to . . . proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness . . .
Set the Captives Free
The good news foretold by Isaiah and other Old Testament prophets came to life in the manger in Bethlehem. Jesus became human and was born of a virgin. He came to start a revolution, not the political kind like many of the Jewish people hoped, but the kind that releases us from the tyranny of sin and the punishment of death. Christ gave up his throne in heaven in order to experience what it’s like to be a man—to live as one, to love as one, and to die as one. Only he was also God. He defeated death and set all the people who had been held captive by its power free.
We no longer have to dwell in darkness or remain shackled to the sinful habits and selfish addictions that so frequently bind us. Because a baby was born in little more than a cave-like stable where animals were kept over two thousand years ago, we have new life—eternal life.
Pray: “Father, I’m so grateful for the Light you sent into the world with the birth of your Son, Jesus. Let me shine your light to everyone dwelling in darkness.”
Are You Watching Out?
Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.
Many a mother wishes she would know the exact time when her baby would be born. There is so much preparation that needs to be done for a newborn. Doctors can give an estimated time of birth, which is helpful, but sometimes parents are caught off guard and unprepared. The key is to be ready.
At the time of Jesus, many thought the end of the world was close at hand. Today, many people think the same thing. Since no one knows the exact date and time, what does it mean to “keep watch”? Just as with a new addition to the family, we need to make room for Jesus in our hearts and lives.
As parents grow in knowledge and love, wanting to know all they need to care for their child, so we can learn as much as we can about God and how to be his son or daughter. God has given us work to do, and we need to seek and serve him and care for those who represent Jesus in out midst. We need to open our eyes and diligently watch, so that when Jesus comes, we are pleasing to him.
Pray: “Lord, show me how to prepare myself for your coming. Help me to live in a way that pleases and honors you.”
Have You Heard The News?
An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy . . .”
The Best News
Can you imagine what it must have been like? You’re out doing your job, trying to keep warm from the chilly desert winds, watching for predators that might try to snatch your sheep, when suddenly the entire night sky explodes with light. The brightness blinds you, outright terrifies you, and then you hear a voice telling you not to be afraid. The voice claims to be a messenger from heaven bringing you the best news imaginable. The Messiah, the long-promised One who would come to free his people, has been born!
The story is familiar to us and therefore difficult for us to imagine with the intensity and surprise of that original encounter on a Judean hillside so long ago. But the shepherds responded as so many of us respond—fear and confusion transformed into awe and worship and unfathomable joy.
The good news may be old, but it’s still the best news you’ll ever hear.
Pray: “Lord, I’m so grateful for the way your good news continues to get told and received, one heart at a time. Let me share it with those around me today.”
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