The Favor of God

Life Notes—December 15, 2011

“And Mary said, ‘My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.’”  Luke 1:46-48a

When I was in college I worked at a nursery in Topeka.  The nursery was located near the I-70 exit one would take when driving to the Governor’s mansion.  Then President Gerald Ford was coming to visit our Governor at the mansion and several of us were lined up along the split-rail fence, looking out some distance across 6th street to catch a glimpse of the President’s motorcade as it exited off the Interstate.  We heard the sirens approaching and soon realized the motorcade was not on the Interstate.  It was on the street, barely 25 feet from where we were standing!  Of course, they passed by very quickly and the windows of the President’s limousine were tinted, but I am certain the President waved at me—not my co-workers, but me!  I felt I had been acknowledged by greatness—not because Ford was a great President, but because the person of the President of theUnited States had looked with favor on me. 

The scripture above begins a passage referred to as the “Magnificat.”  It is Mary’s response to the news of being chosen to carry, birth and raise the Messiah, and in my opinion is one of the most beautiful and lyrical passages in the Bible.  It is the song of a regular, everyday person being chosen for something unfathomably special.  Her joy overflows as she expresses amazement that of all the people in the world, God favored her.  She contrasts the greatness of God with the lowliness of her status in her world.  But there is no ego or pride in her song, only humbleness and honor. 

There is joy in being chosen, in being recognized, in being favored.  Most of us, most of the time, lead mostly routine lives.  And then something special happens: an angel of the Lord appears, or the President waves, or a child jumps into our lap and says, “I love you, Daddy!”  And we know we are not lowly at all—we are favored!  We are treasured and loved and special beyond belief!  We have been chosen!  As this Advent draws to a close, remember the Christ-child comes for you.  “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you (yes, you!) good news of great joy for all the people: to you (yes, you!) is born this day in the city of David a Savior…”  You have been chosen.  You, too, have received favor from God—known, loved and treasured as you are, where you are, who you are.  It is a gift.  It is grace.  It is Love.  This Christmas, why not simply receive? 

This Sunday is the last of Advent and the theme is Love.  Tom’s downtown sermon is “The Gift of Love,” based on Luke 1:39-56. Life worship is at 10:00 in Brady Hall and traditional worship is at 8:30 and 11:00 in the sanctuary.  Mitch’s west campus sermon is “Open Up Yourself,” based on Luke 2:1-7.  Contemporary worship is at 9:00 and 11:00. 

Come home to church this Sunday.  Receive God’s favor for you this Christmas!

Greg Hildenbrand, Life Music Coordinator

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