An Advent Offering from Lil: My Soul Magnifies the Lord

Luke 1:46-56

46 And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, 47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, 48 for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; 49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. 50 His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. 51 He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. 52 He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; 53 he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty. 54 He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, 55 according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.” 56 And Mary remained with her about three months and then returned to her home.

There is a sadness that overwhelms me each year as Christmas Day approaches.  For the feeling of loss from miscarriage two days before Christmas fourteen years ago remains with me.  Celebrating birth in the midst of grief and mourning seems almost impossible.  The music that should be joyful seems flat.  The parties that should be celebrations seem to be obligations.  Giving to others is difficult when barely able to muster the strength for the daily routine.  It is a darkness I had not met before.

Our Lady of Kazan. 16th-century copy of the icon from the Elokhovo Cathedral in Moscow

Our Lady of Kazan. 16th-century copy of the icon from the Elokhovo Cathedral in Moscow

Meeting Mary in this darkness during Advent is something that began to grow new light in my life.  In the midst of darkness, how does Mary’s soul magnify the Lord?  In the mist of predicament, how does Mary’s soul magnify the Lord?  In the midst of being poor and uncertain, how does Mary’s soul magnify the Lord? In the midst of being an outsider on the margins, how does Mary’s soul magnify the Lord?

Fully.  Completely.  Unquestionably.  Wholly thine.

It occurs to me that I do not have to be a bundle of happiness for my soul to magnify the Lord.  I do not have to rejoice with a smile upon my face.  In fact, when I look at many icons of Mary, she is not smiling.  There is a knowing in these characterizations of Mary that there will be sadness and darkness with the joy.

But the joy of magnifying the Lord allows the light to break through.  This is the faith that carries us over the mountains and through the deserts.  This is the provision of  the Lord that brings hope, peace, joy and love.

So what if we began every day with Mary’s song.  My soul magnifies the Lord!  And my spirit rejoices in God my savior!  For I am blessed!  In the midst of darkness, knowing the faithfulness of God brings light into my soul.  Advent light.

Peace be with you,

Lil

The Rev. Lil Smith

The Rev. Lil Smith

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