Sunday, December 21st
Gospel Reading Luke 1:26-38
26In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, 27to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28And he came to her and said, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” 29But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. 30The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. 33He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” 34Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” 35The angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. 36And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. 37For nothing will be impossible with God.” 38Then Mary said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.
JoAnn Gibson remembers Abe Little singing “O Holy Night” with the choir singing the chorus. At the end of the service real candles were passed out and everyone sang “Silent Night”. She also remembers one time when she and Chuck took the kids on a snowy, sleeting night. When they came out of the church, they couldn’t get the car key in the door. They had to go back into the church, get a candle and warm up the key hole. From then on their children wouldn’t let them lock the car during a Christmas Eve Service.
Question for Reflection:
What music is particularly meaningful to you at Christmas? Can you remember an amusing family incident from the past?
Monday, December 22nd
Gospel Reading Luke 1:39-48a (48b-56)
39In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, 40where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. 41When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit 42and exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. 43And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? 44For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy. 45And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.”
46And Mary said,
“My soul magnifies the Lord,
47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.
Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
50 His mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
51 He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
52 He has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
and lifted up the lowly;
53 he has filled the hungry with good things,
and sent the rich away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
55 according to the promise he made to our ancestors,
to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”
56And Mary remained with her about three months and then returned to her home.
Richard Rohr writes, “Mary is a woman who is profoundly self-possessed. She can hold her power comfortably because she knows it is from Beyond. She can also give it away. Power, dignity, and blessedness are hers to hold, offer back, and proudly acclaim in her great Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55). This woman knows her boundaries, her ground, and her gift. Her dignity is not earned or attained. It is.”
Question for Reflection:
How have you understood Mary’s song? What words or phrases stand out? How might you hold power and dignity in balance in your own life?