And Mary said,
"My soul magnifies the Lord,
47and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.
Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
49for the Mighty One has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
50His mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
51He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
52He has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
and lifted up the lowly;
53he has filled the hungry with good things,
and sent the rich away empty.
54He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
55according to the promise he made to our ancestors,
to Abraham and to his descendants forever."
Mary listened to God’s messenger, responded with wonder and joy, and accepted what could have sounded like disastrous news as blessing. She was filled up and confident. She sought out family to share the experience. She beamed!
I felt that beaming spirit when I was expecting a baby. I felt the wonder and joy and miracle of it all. Where did that “anything-is-possible-and-won’t-it-be-wonderful-when-it-happens” mindset go? It was here, not so long ago, inside of me. Lord, restore that spirit of hopefulness and joy.
I set a new prayer on my heart at church on a recent Sunday and wrote it to read throughout the day: “Grant me calm, confidence, creativity and joy in my job and in my life.” I pointed it out to co-workers and e-mailed it to friends. With this ask, I am responding to the yearning of my heart, my need for God to fill me. It has begun to change my spirit.
Instead of being driven to do everything demanded of me and feel a failure, I consider my resources and act with what I have on hand to be and do my best. I have come to a healthier, happier place just by this act of prayer. I am seeing my job and my life as places where God’s goodness will interact with my spirit and bring joy. Hallelujah!
When we are presented with overwhelming news – an unmarried young woman learning she is pregnant would certainly qualify – we can be beaten down by “what-if’s” and “why me?” and “what will everyone think of me?” and “how can I do all that will be required of me?” Or we can take a deep breath, breathing with God, breathing in God’s grace and mercy, breathing through our terror and anxiety and fretfulness and self-consciousness and breathing out “wow!”
God, I am hungry to be filled with good things. I need your strength and mercy. I am low in spirit, empty. The battering of life has worn me down. I reach out to your promise, God, and I accept with gratitude your plenty.
Chris Terry – Lutheran Church of Hope, Anchorage