Christmas Turns the World Upside Down

By Rev. Scott Engelhart

His mercy is on those who fear him from generation to generation.  He has shown strength with his arm, he has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts, he has put down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted those of low degree; he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent empty away. He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy. (Luke 1:50-54, RSV)

The biggest problem at Christmas is that there is too much to do, and not enough time to do it.  We have our lists of items that must be purchased, wrapped, and delivered or mailed.  There is decorating, cleaning, baking, parties, Christmas cards, and host of other things to do to get ready for Christmas.  It seems to be a lot of activity all because of a child born in a manger.

Mary’s song in the Gospel of Luke helps us understand who this child will be.  Her song reminds us that his coming turns the world upside down.

The Messiah, the king, was coming to a humble, ordinary family.  He was not born in a palace to the family of power.  He was born to regular people.  His coming was a sign to everyone that the status quo was changing.  She sang that the rich would be the hungry the hungry would be filled.  The rulers would be removed and humble would be installed. 

The song is a reminder of how God wants the world to be.  God wants the poor and the regular people to find a place in the Kingdom.  God desires that there be mercy shown, as God has shown mercy. 

In this season of busyness, and I am certain that for many of us the busyness will increase, I would like for us to remember that the season is not about a baby in a manger.  It is about the birth of the Messiah, a king.  Remember that Jesus came to turn the world upside-down, and that Jesus continues to just that.  The season is not about giving and getting things, it is about receiving and giving mercy.

Just as Mary reminds us that God’s mercy extends to those who fear God, we are to be mindful that Jesus came to extend God’s mercy to us.  And as she ends the song she states that God has helped God’s servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants.  God is merciful.  The mercy comes through Jesus.  Let us be merciful in our interactions with one another.  Wish one another a Merry Christmas, and help others to have a Merry Christmas by our acts of mercy.

Prayer: God of mercy, remind me that it out of your mercy that Jesus was born, allow me to be merciful to all so that I may help them to have a Merry Christmas.  Amen.

Rev. Scott Engelhart

First Baptist Church

Lander, WY

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