Untriumphiantly: Gratefulness

This third week of Advent is the week of Joy!

Then Miryam said,

“My soul magnifies Adonai;
    and my spirit rejoices in God, my Savior,
who has taken notice of his servant-girl
    in her humble position.
For — imagine it! — from now on, all generations will call me blessed!
    “The Mighty One has done great things for me!
Indeed, his name is holy; and in every generation
    he has mercy on those who fear him.

“He has performed mighty deeds with his arm,
    routed the secretly proud,
brought down rulers from their thrones,
    raised up the humble,
filled the hungry with good things,
    but sent the rich away empty.

“He has taken the part of his servant Isra’el,
    mindful of the mercy
which he promised to our fathers,
    to Avraham and his seed forever.”

Luke 1:46-55 (CJB)

            I’m always amazed at Mary’s (Miryam) gratefulness and joy. This is a girl whose entire world is going to be turned upside down. Her reputation will be completely trashed. Her life plans and goals—there they go out the window. Most people aren’t even willing to move to a town a few miles away at the call of God, and here, this girl is willing to give everything up to be part of His plan. It is hard to even fathom faith and sacrifice like that. 

            Christmas is the grinchiest time of year. It comes right after Thanksgiving, where we try to remember to be grateful, until those Black Friday sales drop. Then we head right back to our consumeristic mindsets, and gratefulness is a thing of the past. 

            The day after Christmas, my inbox will be flooded with advertisements from companies telling me to now buy what I really wanted for Christmas but didn’t get. How selfish are we? The kids don’t buy us “the right” thing, so we’ve got to treat ourselves to what we “really deserve”. I have to say, the gift-giving scene around Christmas makes me want to never buy a gift again. 

            Even beyond gifts, the self-centeredness this time of year is evident everywhere. Everyone insisting on having their tradition in their way. People just get so set on having their holiday the exact way they want them; they don’t even have room for anyone to participate. It is sad, really. 

            What would it look like for us to be radically grateful this Advent? Grateful for that little nip in the air (even if it isn’t exactly the white Christmas of our dreams). Grateful for the long nights, the hot chocolate, the silly Christmas movies, the neighbor’s inflatable Rudolf. That little bit of gratitude in those simple, ordinary things would begin to look a lot like joy. We can choose this Advent to have a soul that magnifies the Lord. We can choose gratefulness in the simple that leads to joy in the eternal. 

Today’s song: Shepherd’s Song by Josh Garrels

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