The following reading comes from Word & Craft’s 2016 Advent Devotional. If you would like to download the full devotional, you can do so here.
Read: Luke 1:46-56
Yesterday we read Mary’s joyful words that remind us that God’s Kingdom is a reversal of the Kingdom of man: the lowly are chosen, the humble are exalted, and the poor have full bellies. Mary now turns her poetic praise to the bigger picture of what God is doing. She lifts her gaze from the way God has looked upon her, and to praise Him that He has also remembered her nation.
“’He has helped His servant Israel, in remembrance of His mercy, as He spoke to our father, to Abraham and His offspring forever.’” (Luke 1:54-55)
Mary proclaims that what God is doing in sending this Child is not a new thing but the fulfillment of His age-old promises. This is not a new story, but a climactic chapter in the age- old tale of His grace. God promised to bless Abraham with a child that would result in the blessing of all nations, and He is keeping that promise by sending Jesus. The Child growing in her belly is the Child of the Abrahamic line who will embody God’s blessing to the world; through Jesus’ coming, the promises God spoke long ago will finally be fulfilled. Though Israel wandered from God, God did not forget His promise. In this Advent act He has not only remembered the promise He spoke, and in His great mercy, He is keeping that promise.
Mary overflows with praise for what He has done for her with one major underscoring theme: God’s work in sending the Messiah is all a result of God’s character. Because Mary knows the character of God, she sees His words to her as an expression of who God is, who He has promised to be, and the faithful way that He keeps His promises.
We do not live in a world of kept promises. Parents who hurt, spouses who leave, pastors who keep secrets and others who don’t keep ours. Because we are a people with flawed character, we live in a world of broken promises. Let Mary’s words sink like salve into the deep brokenness of our hearts, into every crevice of our broken relationships: God always keeps His promises.
He promised to give Abraham a son: promise kept.
He promised to free Israel from Egypt’s grasp: promise kept.
He promised to send a Savior: promise kept.
Do let the broken promises around you keep you from worshiping the One who always, always keeps His promises.
Spend some time thanking God for His character. Name some specific attributes that you are thankful for. Thank God that, because of His character, He always keeps His promises.