“When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dream.
Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy;
then it was said among the nations, ‘The Lord has done great things for them.’
The Lord has done great things for us, and we rejoiced.” (Psalms 126:1-3)
Advent and Christmas are the seasons of abundance. And with abundance comes joy; especially if that abundance has not been available before. It is the hope and prayer of those who have been restored that the restoration also includes abundance. And abundance has been lost to us, we receive with joy the pronouncement of the coming restoration of abundance.
Restore our fortunes, O Lord, like the watercourses in the Negeb.
May those who sow in tears reap with shouts of joy.
Those who go out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing,
shall come home with shouts of joy, carrying their sheaves. (Psalms 126:4-6)
When we re-commit ourselves to God, we can expect what had been ours in the past to be ours again. And while abundance is good, and brings joy, the joy that comes from renewing our relationship to God brings greater joy and abundance that does not fade – unless we again wander away from our God. Re-committing ourselves to God might be something we have done many, many . . . many times. And each time God welcomes us back with joy and infuses our spirit with joy!
Then Mary said, ‘My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour,
for he has looked with favour on the lowliness of his servant.
Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name.
His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
He has brought down the powerful from their thrones,and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants for ever.’ (Luke 1: 46-55)
Mary’s ‘Song’ reminds us of all the wondrous things our Lord has done in the past, and will do in the future. We can depend on this promise that God will undertake for us and not forsake us. It gives us something to hold on to when things seem hard. What is hard to remember, though, as we hear Mary’s ‘Song’ is that these things might not come when we expect them. If while waiting, we have not been patient but have turned away from God hoping for better things else where, then when God’s favor, blessing, mercy, and strength will not be bestowed on us. This is the other lesson of Mary’s ‘Song’ that we have to be patient and stand firm in our commitment and purpose. Advent, the season of waiting, is a good time to learn this lessons as we consider the abundance that God has already given us. May God’s abundance already been present for you, beloved, and may you wait patiently for God to bestow even more of the Lord’s blessings. Selah!