"But the angel said to her, 'Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.'" Luke 1:30-33
"I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered. "May it be to me as you have said." Then the angel left her. Luke 1:38
Bible Reading: Luke 1:26-38, 46-56
Jesse Tree Symbol - White Lily (go to Jesse Tree ornaments 2)
Mary...the mother of Jesus. Woman blessed above all other women to have been chosen to be the mother of God come to earth.
She was only 13 or 14, born to a family of humble means but a strong, devout faith in God. Promised to be married to a man who loved God. Living in a time when pregnancy outside of marriage carried the death sentence, to be carried out by those who knew her.
When the angel Gabriel comes to her to tell her the incredible news, she has some questions but she never doubts. In the faith of this humble young girl, the Gift of God found the acceptance He had awaited from the beginning of time. She whom the Almighty made "full of grace" responds by offering her whole being: "I am the Lord's servant...May it be to me as you have said."
When she arrives at her cousin Elizabeth's home, because the Lord knew she would need the encouragement and belief of this Godly woman, Mary utters these words, known today, throughout the world, as the Magnificat. Reflect on these words of faith, trust and hope.
"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, for the Mighty One has done great things for me- holy is His name.
His mercy extends to those who fear Him, from generation to generation.
He has performed mighty deeds with His arm; He has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty.
He has helped His servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and His descendants forever, even as He said to our fathers." Luke 1:46-55
Praise God for the humble willingness and trust of Mary. May we desire this same faith and trust in God, no matter what He asks us to do.
The Magnificat has been sung within the Church for thousands of years. It is believed to be one of the oldest hymns there is. There have been many renditions of this song. One I found especially beautiful and touching was the Magnificat sung by Richard Wu in an album dedicated to the people of North Korea. You can hear it at the Magnificat in song
The above commentary on Luke is part of a 4-week Advent Reflection for the Jesse Tree. The Jesse Tree is similar to an advent calendar. Every day you will read a Bible passage to your child(ren), discuss what it means to them in personal terms and color an ornament to hang on your Jesse Tree. A fuller description of this can be found at The Jesse Tree
When you are finished today, you might want to discuss how Christmas is about giving much more than getting. One way that your family can give is through their daily prayers. This might be a good time to pray for a specific country or for a group of people who do not know about Jesus. Today, over 2 billion people, 1/3 of the earth's population, have never heard the Gospel message. They don't know about a God who loves them, made them unique and celebrates who they are. They need our prayers.
Two great websites to help you do this are:
Another way to give is by giving a gift to those, throughout the world, who have very little. It might be a chicken, or sheep or a goat...maybe you can help pay for the digging of a well or provide a sewing machine to a widow so she can provide for her family. There are many ways to help this Christmas. Visit Gospel for Asia and take a look at their Christmas Catalog.