By Bob Simpson, BCMD Associate Executive Director, Editor of BaptistLIFE
When Mary received the word from the angel Gabriel that she was going to bear the Son of God, her response to that moment was magnificent. In fact, that’s what we call it: the Magificat. It’s found in Luke 1:46-56. She says, “that all generations will call me blessed…” Mary is blessed not because of what she did, but because of what she had experienced while doing it. We compliment her for the joy and gratitude she expressed in response to God’s grace to her at that moment.
I mention Mary because it is her example that I want to emulate this Christmas. Too often we are bombarded with all the advertisements and the hype that tries to make us feel like we are entitled to something spectacular for Christmas. We begin to hear our loved ones ask, “What would you like for Christmas?” So many ideas…so many options! If we are not careful, we can lose the joy, wonder, and gratitude of simply having what the Lord gives us…even on a daily basis. Hey, just to be alive, healthy, mobile, and connected to so many wonderful folks is, in themselves, enough for celebration.
I don’t know how much scripture Mary knew at the time. She obviously knew a great deal because she begins to outline the many marvelous deeds of the Lord down through history. I suspect she also knew full well the story of Job. It was Job, you recall, that made that great confession of perspective in the first chapter of Job. Following great calamity in his life, he exclaimed, “The Lord gave me what I had, and the Lord has taken it away. Praise (or blessed be) the name of the Lord!”
I think if Mary were alive today, she would sing that great new song by Matt and Beth Redman which says, “Blessed be Your name in the land that is plentiful, where Your streams of abundance flow, blessed be Your name.” That’s the easy verse.
The last verse says, “Blessed be Your name on the road marked with suffering, tho’ there’s pain in the offering, blessed be Your name.” That one requires a little more maturity, of course.
What I like most of all about this song is the conclusion: “You give and take away, You give and take away; My heart will choose to say, Lord, blessed be Your name!”
This Christmas will you join me in simply being grateful to God for whatever He chooses to give us. Mary clearly understood this concept. Like her, let’s be grateful for all the things God chooses to give us (or not) this Christmas. That’s something that even the best of wrapped gifts can never measure up to!