Hope for Humbled Places {Advent}

And Mary said: “My soul exalts the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. For He has had regard for the humble state of His bondslave; for behold, from this time on all generations will count me blessed.” ~Luke 1:46-47

A humble state is hardly cause for celebration.

This season as Christmas letters crowd mailboxes, few will be opened telling stories of humiliations. There are tales of success, milestones reached, and achievements accomplished, but the inability to pay the mortgage, or that yelling outburst you had at your kids, or the night you drank too much, well…those stories are spared from the holiday greetings.  Share the best, spare the rest. {…and hope the recipient lives far enough away to plausibly believe your fairy tale.}

We don’t want people examining too closely our humbled places. They are hard enough for us to face. Who’d want another snooping around in the causes and conditions?

Difficult circumstances are master storytellers. They whisper uncharitable names in the dark. They weigh down shoulders with impossible-to-shake burdens, cloaking us with shame and unworthiness. They are heavy. Dark. Almost always carried alone, secretly, out of the eye of others, with fear for the day they’ll be leaked to the knowledge of others.

Mary—the teenage mother of Jesus—knew a good deal about the humbled state. A Jewish girl, raised under the occupation of Rome. Poor. Uneducated. Preparing for a modest marriage to a modest man. No social standing of which to speak. Now pregnant out of wedlock under, let’s admit it, a pretty sketchy story.

One would think that if there were ever a time this over-looked girl wished to remain invisible, it would be now.

Yet, she joyfully declares that she has been seen. “For He has had regard for the humble state of His bondslave.”  The whole state of affairs stands exposed before God. Mary takes confidence in knowing that her humbled state is a gift from God…and He is watching with delight, like a parent playing Santa on Christmas, as she receives it.  She is ever so small, but she knows she is serving a very big God.

Mary’s humbled state is a place for God’s exaltation.  It’s possible for us too. Praise, like the morning sun, breaks the dark, heaviness of our humbled places. For what would you praise Him, you ask?

What does it mean to you that God sees your humbled place and He looks upon you with Fatherly regard? That you do not have to carry your burden alone? That it is safe to be known? That you are tenderly noticed? You can praise Him for His ever-present presence. You can praise Him He is love. You can praise Him that He sees all things–including you…right.where.you.are.

Advent is just as much us noticing God as it is remembering that He has noticed us. With His kindness. With His favor. With His love. Meditate on that and then exalt the Lord who sees you and loves in your humbled place.

Receive the hope of Advent. He has come and He is coming! For you. Don’t let the humbled places fool you into believing otherwise. 

1 thought on “Hope for Humbled Places {Advent}

  1. Thanks Brenda,
    Just talked Sunday about Advent and how hope comes through Jesus, but in Mary’s eyes that hope must have seemed a bit confusing. Thanks for your insight! God Bless you.

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