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.”
God has never been impressed with the power and wealth of people. We set up elaborate systems of authority, like in our government and economic structures. We calculate financial fortunes and keep track of who owns the most of what we consider valuable. We honor rulers and tycoons, kings and moguls, presidents and chairmen of the board. Our worldly measures of success and power make it easy to tell who is on top and who is not. God, however, has never looked at people that way, and the Christmas story proves that He isn’t impressed by earthly power.
Most of the world didn’t even notice when Jesus was born. The King of Kings didn’t arrive to fanfare or parades. He wasn’t welcomed by dignitaries or heads of state. Jesus wasn’t swaddled in silk or laid to sleep in a luxurious crib. Mary rightly understood, even before her child’s birth, that God didn’t intend to treat Jesus to the world’s riches. God would rather lift up the humble and fill the hungry and be merciful to the faithful. Jesus’ humble birth, like Mary’s wise words, teach us who God is.
Maybe just as important, Mary’s words should remind us who God wants us to be. It’s so easy to join the world as they bow down to the powerful, the wealthy and the famous. We anxiously watch the stock market rise and fall, and we pin our hopes on elections and political promises. We envy celebrities, imagining the glamor of their seemingly perfect lives. We fall into all sorts of foolish traps set by the false promises of power and wealth. Meanwhile, Jesus points us to a better way. He invites us to humble devotion, faithful obedience and compassionate service. He asks us to trust in what God provides, believing that the good things He gives are better than what the world offers. Christmas invites us to fall out of love with the things of this world and to fall in love with Jesus, who came to satisfy the deepest longings of our hearts.
Gracious God, You give me what I need, even when I can’t see my own emptiness or feel my own hunger. Thank You for filling me with good things. Teach me to seek after You and to join Jesus in showing mercy to people in need. I ask this in His good name. Amen.
Pastor Mike Mirakian