Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Advent, Mary, and Elizabeth

There is a popular Christian contemporary song by the group MercyMe that paints a very real, yet mysterious encounter. What will we do when we come into the presence of God? Will we stand in His presence? Will we even be able to speak?

Surrounded by Your Glory, what will my heart feel?
Will I dance for you, Jesus? Or in awe of You, be still?
Will I stand in Your presence, or to my knees will I fall?
Will I sing 'Hallelujah!'? Will I be able to speak at all?
I can only imagine! I can only imagine!
I can only imagine, Copyright: ©1999 MercyMe

During the season of Advent we should be asking ourselves those very questions. As the body of Christ we are waiting for His return. We are waiting for the very presence of God to come back to get us! Do we think about that? What it will be like? How will we respond? One of the most amazing stories to me of the bible is the story of the Visitation, when Mary goes to see Elizabeth.

At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea,  where she entered Zechariah's home and greeted Elizabeth.  When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.  In a loud voice she exclaimed: "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear!  But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?  As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.  Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!" Luke 1:39-45

The first part of this story shows us an amazing thing. Just being in the presence of Mary, whose chaste womb held the living Word of God, John the Baptist leaped for joy! Do we leap for joy when we come face to face with God? Do we even keep our eyes open to see Him and watch for Him to be in our life? Everyday we can come face to face with Jesus in our lives. When we worship we come face to face with God! Where two or more are gathered in my name, there I will be also! Do we leap for joy? Do we even keep our minds open to the possibility? How do we respond to God's presence inside of us?

This same story from the bible also gives us an example to follow there as well.
And Mary said:
"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

Mary is such a brilliant example of how we should respond to God's calling in our lives, to God's presence in our hearts! Does she brag about how good she is? Or how Holy? She gives glory to God! Not only with her lips and her hands, but with her entire soul! With her spirit! With her mind! Then she says all generations will call her blessed, not because of what she has done, but what God has done for her! Do we respond to God with this humility? With this praise to His name? When we partake of communion with God do we realize the great things the Might One has done for us? The forgiveness that He has sent, the grace that He has given?

This Advent season let us begin to open our eyes to the reality that Christ becomes present to us. That yes He is coming again, remembering that He was born into this world to make it possible for us to even be saved. Yet we also must be aware that He is with us always, and that He presents Himself to us in very special ways. Let us bring our worship alive, when we come face to face with the Real Presence of God, let our hearts leap with joy! Let our souls glorify the Lord! Let our spirits rejoice in God our Savior!

In Christ,