This Baby Will Turn The World Upside-down (The Christmas Series)

“His mighty arm has done tremendous things!
    He has scattered the proud and haughty ones.
He has brought down princes from their thrones
    and exalted the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things
    and sent the rich away with empty hands.”

Luke 1:51-53 New Living Translation

After the angel had delivered the news to Mary that she would carry the baby that would be the long-awaited Messiah, Mary went to visit her cousin, Elizabeth, who was pregnant with another miracle baby, John The Baptist. At the sound of Mary’s greeting, Elizabeth felt her baby leap in her womb in anticipation of the baby that Mary was carrying. Mary broke into her own song of praise, celebrating what God was doing through her and her cousin. This song, known as the Magnificat, has become one of the most well-known segments of Scripture related to the Christmas story.

In the Magnificat, Mary not only celebrates how God is using her and Elizabeth as part of this great plan of reconciliation. She also celebrates the cosmic nature of what God will do through the child she is carrying. This baby would turn the world and all its social orders upside down. Mary had experienced the underside of oppression. She grew up in a nation that had been overthrown by a succession of empires. The empire they currently lived under had done many great things but it was also known for its extreme cruelty toward anyone who fell out of favor with the Empire. For a conquered people, the choice was to either work your way into the political machine of the favored ones, often by betraying your own people, or to live among the oppressed and suffer the whims of injustice. Mary most likely had witnessed first-hand how the poor and oppressed had been taken advantage of by the upper class.

God’s Kingdom lives by a different set of rules that turns all systems of oppression and injustice upside-down. God’s desire is to lift up the poor and bring those who oppress them down from their lofty thrones. Jesus entered the world through the humblest of circumstances and He set up a new community that would seek to live by these values. It wouldn’t come through a violent overthrow but by living as a counter-cultural community that demonstrated what God’s kingdom looks like. From the most humble of people, Jesus exalted those whose hearts would be responsive to these values and gave them the job of continuing this work after His return to Heaven. We who follow Him today have inherited this mission. We are called to work for righteousness and justice wherever we have influence as we wait for the final completion of this mission at the return of Christ.

God, thank you that you care for the poor and oppressed of this world. We hear the call to work for justice that You have passed on to us through Jesus. Help us to live by the values He called us to.

Published by llongard

I grew up in northeast Wisconsin. After high school, I moved to Minneapolis, MN to attend North Central University and graduated 1992 with a degree in Biblical Studies and Humanities. I spent most of the next fifteen years in the Twin Cities area until my family and I moved to Indiana in 2007. For most of the first seventeen years after college, I was involved in university ministry either as a volunteer, bi-vocational, or full-time campus minister. Through those years, I also worked in the main street marketplace as a retail manager/trainer and as a service representative in the insurance industry. I've also worked in various education roles. Most recently, I have been working on various projects addressing homelessness in Indianapolis and as team lead for Diakonos Community, a Communitas International missional initiative. Through this ministry, we seek to build missional communities in Indianapolis that serve and bring the life of Christ to those on the margins of society. Our strategy is to collaborate with community agencies that serve those in need and share Christ through meaningful relationships. I am blessed with a wonderful wife, three amazing daughters, and two cats (can't forget the cats, LOL). As a family, we enjoy camping, hiking, gardening, and going to the YMCA together. I also enjoy fishing, riding bicycle, and being involved in whatever my daughters are doing. Though I have not lived in the Green Bay area for over 20 years, I am still a major Packer fan.

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