But when we listen to Mary's song, we hear a different sense of expectation. Mary sings to her relative Elizabeth, a woman who has been treated as a failure because she could never bear children. A woman who has welcomed Mary into her home, knowing that likely Mary is also facing societal rejection, shame as an unwed mother. Mary and Elizabeth both know that as a woman engaged to another man and not impregnated by him, she has a possible death sentence in her future, according to the societal rules.
Mary knows all this and yet greets her relative Elizabeth with joy and then sings with all her heart of a God who has looked with favor on her, and has done great things for her.
Um... am I missing something here?
Apparently so, for her expectations are not what mine would be. She is expecting the best out of this situation, not because of what society could do to her, but because of what God has done and will continue to do to her.
She looks at her faith story and remembers a God who has lifted up the poor and scattered the proud. He has brought down the powerful and lifted up the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty.
And now she knows that she, the one everyone else rejected, is the one they will call blessed.
And it causes us to ask the question, what are our expectations this Christmas of what God can do? We've seen what society can do, just watch the news, just look at the stores, just talk to a stressed out friend. But what can God do?
Do you believe God will still lift up the poor and scatter the proud? Will the powerful come down and the lowly be lifted up? Will the hungry be filled and those who believe they are rich be sent away empty?
I wonder what would happen if we stopped worrying about society's expectations and refocused upon God's expectations. Do we really believe like Mary and Elizabeth that God has come to save us from all that is painful in society? Is God the one who has come to redeem those who are rejected and hungry and oppressed? If we start professing our faith about who we expect God to be in our society, would people see the Christmas spirit in us?
Expect the best,