Luke 1:51-55 (Today’s New International Version)
“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.”
This part of Mary’s prayer is so interesting, because it could be taken in two completely different ways. You can look at it from the perspective of the world — where strength, power, and might are paramount. Or, you can look at it from the perspective of the God who has given all to save us and to show us compassion.
From the first perspective, the Messiah is physically strong in battle, tearing down the fortresses of the proud and powerful. This vision of the conquering Messiah is one that the world would readily understand and embrace.
But the second perspective is radically different. Jesus performed mighty deeds with his arm: reaching out to the hurting, healing those who were ill, inviting the lost. He chastised the rulers of the day for their faithlessness and disobedience, and lifted up those who were on the fringes of society. He was born into the children of Israel — Abraham’s descendants — and came to offer life eternal.
A God who would become human, a Savior who would walk along with those in pain, a Messiah who would give completely of himself to save the lost.
That is a perspective that bewilders the world.
What is most surprising to you about the Christmas story?