Giving Shalom: Advent Day 19

He shows mercy from generation to generation
   to all who fear him.
His mighty arm has done tremendous things!
   He has scattered the proud and haughty ones.
He has brought down princes from their thrones
   and exalted the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things
   and sent the rich away with empty hands.
He has helped his servant Israel
   and remembered to be merciful.
For he made this promise to our ancestors,
   to Abraham and his children forever.” (Luke 1:52–55 NLT)

It would be easy to trip over some of the phrases in this passage, particularly where it refers to sending the rich away empty handed and bringing down princes. Just as with all of Scripture, it’s important not to divorce the text from its context. Not only does Luke’s personality shine through, but permeating every word is the culture he wrote in and to. In this case, Mary’s prayer of praise is directly related to Israel’s history as a captive people and how God “remembered to be merciful” by returning them from Babylon and bringing them the promised Messiah in Jesus.

The incarnation of Jesus is about the restoration of all things: not just at the internal, soul-level, but on the grand scale of history and everything in between. Jesus truly is concerned with the restoration of ALL things. God’s shalom is for every corner of creation, and that is cause for celebration. What can you do today to orient your heart to ensure that you can freely and joyfully echo Mary’s words: “Oh, how my soul praises the Lord. How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!” (Luke 1:46–47)?