I am sitting in a post Christmas haze. My throat hurts, there are pine needles all over my house and I am exhausted. This past December was especially busy with hosting and celebrating and I am grateful for every minute. In all the bustle rest has been allusive and the last few days my body has been letting me know about it.
As I reflect I think that mostly this is how life is. Overwhelmingly busy. On social media people post resolutions about wanting more rest, more intentionality in their lives. Recently I read an article about how we worship what gives us worth. For many a full calendar brings feelings of importance but in reality when we have a small window to breathe we are left emptier than when we started.
When I look at the characters in the Christmas story and see that they surrendered everything to be used by God because they knew that being a part of God’s story, being a character in his plan is an awesome privilege. A privilege because it is in our surrender that we meet God. That we intimately know him. That we grasp redemption. That we know his mercy and grace. That we experience his love. If sacrifice is giving everything then do we even sacrifice at all when we gain so much?
How do we respond now that Christmas is once again behind us? Or is it actually a part of the very fiber of our every day and of our very moments. Immanuel, God with us should characterize the fiber of our lives. Letting go so that we can experience his best plan for each of us. Collapsing in redemption. Allowing his goodness to blanket our mess.
Mary in Luke 1:47-55 shows us by her example how to respond when you realize who God is and what he has done for you. She worships. She worships for the Great, Holy God has seen her in her most humble state and blessed her with himself. She acknowledges her place in this world and acknowledges the greatness of God.
My soul jumps as I read Mary’s words of praise. I want to cry and shout as she recounts how God has used her even when she is undeserving, included her in his plan. Poured out his mercy and grace, love and provision upon her.
For many, Christmas is a sour reminder of all that they don’t have. Money is tight or family is difficult. Prayers have been unanswered and if you spend two seconds on social media it is easy to look at your life and see pain, lack, emptiness.The truth is that you and I have cause to rejoice, because of what we celebrate at Christmas we have reason to stand with Mary and proclaim;
“My soul Magnifies the Lord and my Spirit rejoices in God my Savior. For he has looked on the humble estate of his servant for behold from now on all generations will call me blessed”
Friends, we are blessed to know Christ. We are blessed to be in right relationship with God. We are blessed to get a place in God’s story. We are blessed with the opportunity to worship. Everything else that we hope to receive in this world is a gift and a test, both together and one in the same. As a teacher of mine has said, the gift is always a test and the test is always a gift. Will we look at it that way today? Will we allow the struggle to refine us and as it draws us to know Christ more deeply? Will we acknowledge that all the gifts we perceive to be given to others come with their own tests and hardships? The only true blessing that comes as a free gift that we can completely rest in is the blessing of knowing Christ, every day and abiding in him.
This is the challenge, to surrender all the things we believe owed to us and accept the one thing given so freely, so graciously, so abundantly. A righted relationship with God. As we realize what we have in that, then we rejoice like Mary.
Together let’s live today magnifying the name of the Lord, for he is worthy.