Recommended readings from the fourth Sunday of Advent (from the Revised Common Lectionary):
Luke 1:47-55 or
Luke 1:39-45, (46-55)
God is turning the world right side-up! To me that is what the Magnificat (Mary's song of praise) is all about. God has regarded our helpless state (as sinners all), and has helped us by sending us a Savior. This is what we wait for (symbolically) during Advent. We remember the first waiting for Christ, we recall our own helpless state before we first welcomed the Savior into our lives, and we wait again for the Savior's return.
What I find fascinating is that Mary, a first-century Jew, sang about this coming as present fact. Though only in the beginnings of her pregnancy with the Holy Child, she celebrated what God was doing, as though it were already done. The longer I live, the more confused I tend to get about the yet-not-yet-ness of God's Reign. I suspect that this is because God has already accomplished salvation, even as in our time and space-bound reality, Christ is still reconciling all creation to God. Sometimes I see it as God having "turned loose" salvation in our time and space and it's a glorious, complex, seeing-it-only-from-the-wrong-side-of-the-canvas work in progress. Sometimes I just say "thank you" to God and leave off wordering about it.
Too seldom, however, do I sing for joy because of God's mercy in working salvation in our sinful world--and in sinful me. Dear God, accept today my echo of Mary's Magnificat. You have helped your servant Israel, and specifically you have helped, over and over again, this least of your ingrafted servants: me!
Holy is your name, and holy is the Child about to be born, again, in our midst!