4 Advent – Year C

Micah 5:2-5a; Luke 1:46-55 (aka Canticle 15) or Psalm 80:1-7; Hebrews 10:5-10; Luke 1:39-45, (46-55)

“Christmas renews our youth by stirring our wonder. The capacity for wonder has been called our most pregnant human faculty, for in it are born our art, our science, our religion.” – Ralph W. Sockman

The old lady is pregnant. The virgin is pregnant. Elizabeth and Mary. If we think that is hard to believe, the Song of Mary (Luke 1:46-55) says things about us, things unheard of in our society which has a smaller middle class, more poor, and an elite rich. Believe it or not, Mary says that God scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts (1:51), brought down the powerful from their thrones (1:52), and lifted up the lowly (1:52). And if that were not enough, Mary has this absolutely countercultural statement that God fills the hungry with good things and sends the rich away empty (1:53). We haven’t seen much of Mary’s prophesy coming true these days. How can we believe such things? Is this upside down world only an unfulfilled hope? What happened with the sage adage that there is nothing wrong with being rich? Mary and much of the New Testament must have missed that point. Yet we can believe in things unseen because the primary message of this passage is not that Elizabeth and Mary are pregnant. The message is that the unlikely is possible with God, because all things are possible with God. Who is pregnant? We are the pregnant ones. John stirred in Elizabeth’s womb. What stirs within us? What stirs our wonder? If we are honest, we admit that we do not have all the answers. We wonder about many things. When we desire a better world, where the rich do not get richer while the poor get poorer, we know that we are pregnant. As any mother can tell us, when one is pregnant, there is a good chance that the world is about to be turned upside down. Mary believed in an upside down world. So do we.


In Luke 1:48 Mary says that God looked with favor on the lowliness of his “servant.” Most translations use “servant” and some translate it “handmaid.” The point is the humility of Mary. However, the original Greek makes Mary even more humble. It says God looked on the lowliness of his “slave.”


Old ladies, virgins,

in unseen, improbable,

pregnant believing.