Jesus Creed

Jesus Creed


Christmas Words 19: God

posted by Scot McKnight

The first Christmas was a Magnificat kind of Christmas. It wasn’t a Dickens kind of Christmas, and it wasn’t a Midwestern kind of Christmas, and it wasn’t a Tennessee kind of Christmas. It was a Mary kind of Magnificat kind of Christmas that turns our kinds of Christmases on their head. Christmas is about God.

Mary was poor. Mary was oppressed. And Mary was yearning, with the rest of the poor in Galilee and Israel, for the Day God Would Come Back and Liberate Israel.

Mary’s kind of Christmas was a Christmas about God — about God returning to Act for Israel.
So, if we simply read the Magnificat we will see that Mary’s understanding of Christmas, which she believed was now at work like Deep Magic in the Land of Israel through the birth of her son, was the kind of Christmas when God was at work. Read these words and mark (which I have) in your Bible the words that speak of what God is doing at Christmas.

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,
just as he promised our ancestors.”

The God of Christmas, the God at work in the Magnificat kind of Christmas, is a Saving, liberating, mighty merciful God who is faithful to his promises. And this God sides with justice and peace for all — not just the rich, but for the poor too. That’s a Magnificat Christmas. The kind where the poor get the present they’ve longed for from the God who brings it: justice.



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Rev. Rod Richards

posted December 24, 2009 at 7:10 pm


I appreciate you highlighting the Magnificat. I was struck by those words this year, too. I would note that there cannot even be such a thing as justice for the rich and not the poor. That, by definition, is not justice. It seems to me that this is talking, not just about making things fair, but by turning the present system on its head:
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.
What would that vision look like today?
Thanks for your reflections.



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