Toorak Uniting Church

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A Baby is Coming

Luke 1: 39 – 45
Rev. Ian Brown
24 December 2000

Think for a moment with me. What is it like when there is a baby coming? Plans, excitement, anxiety, hopes,......

Who can remember the coming of a baby sister, brother or your own baby? Its an event that would be hard to forget, a very important occasion, no matter who you are.

Now think what it might be like to be having a baby as a young unmarried mother?

Hard now, but much worse years ago, like when Jesus was born.

Mary was in a very risky position, young, unmarried and pregnant, living in a small town in the country in an occupied land. I guess the equivalent today would be of a girl in the occupied territory in Palestine.

But then we look at Mary's response, the response that we have heard this morning, Mary herself sang "My soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my saviour, he has put down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of low degree."

We might have expected Mary to be quivering in fright, to be looking up the phone number of the nearest abortion clinic or at least to be off to the doctor's for some strong sedatives, after the news she had received, but Mary, a pregnant girl in a male dominated society that would normally have cut her off completely, this amazing person of faith, she sings about how God turns the world upside down, putting the mighty down and lifting up the lowly. God's message is really an unexpected one!!

It's not a sweet Christmas carol that Mary sings, there is not one word of nice sentiment. She is ecstatically happy, she praises God, but the words are more the stuff of a revolutionary manifesto than material for children's pageants.

We sing about white Christmases and Noel's. It's reassuring, it helps us to feel good about life and the world we live in

But listen to Mary's song, (Hymn 161 vs 1 & 3) she sings about bringing down the thrones of the powerful, about the hungry being filled with good things and the sending the rich away empty.

It's not the sort of Christmas carol you will hear in a comfortable society, Frank Sinatra wouldn't have sung it even if the Bible provided the tune, because it's a subversive message about a new world order where the poor and oppressed won't be left out. to bring not just hope but justice and power to transform people and the societies they live in.

Mary could see God beginning this revolutionary work in the one she was to bear and she was happy because God's method is consistent with his purpose.

God chose someone who was lowly, someone who had no power or position, one of the least, to raise up and do something of real significance through. Do you ever feel unimportant and very ordinary? The song of Mary, and the whole story of Christmas reminds us that God does indeed choose the small, the ordinary and the insignificant to do his work through.

Christmas tells us that this is the way God works, surprisingly in ordinary people, the invitation to us is to join in the work and join in the praise of the God who makes all things new, bringing real peace and joy, praising God who chooses to work through the common and unimportant like Mary, the insignificant like Bethlehem and through everyday people like you and me. God dwells among us in human form.

To God be all praise. Amen

© Rev. Ian Brown, 2000

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