Advent 4 Devotional

Advent 4 Devotional

Pastor’s note: this Advent, in both the Midweek Services and these Devotionals, I am asking you to consider some of Jesus’ distant relatives, and what they might tell us about him, teach us about our own faith, and change about our daily practice. As the season goes on, we obviously are getting closer to Jesus!  

This third week of Advent we looked to Ruth, Naomi and Boaz in the midweek service (as well as to Sojourner Truth and Bree Newsome.) In today’s Advent Devotional we’re going to look to Zechariah and his silence.


Please begin by reading Luke 1:46-55

In the story of Jesus’ family heritage, Mary is as close to Jesus as you can get.

Mary’s song of praise is known as the Magnificat because in Latin, the first word of “My soul magnifies the Lord” is not “my soul” but “magnify.” 

As it bursts forth from Mary upon her arrival at Elizabeth’s home, the song reveals much about who she is: a humble servant who knows she is blessed, not because of what she has, but because of what God has done. She is one who can recognize the mercy of God at work through the generations; a young person who already perceives the need for God to bring the proud, the powerful, and the rich low in order for God’s promises to take hold. 

Mary believes that there is good news to be had for people who are poor and hungry. As a prophet, she employs beautiful and poetic language to inspire generations of faithful people. As a person of faith, she knows God’s promise will take hold down through the generations, beyond what she will see and know. Mary’s song of praise also reveals much about who her son will be. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree!

If the ancestors of Jesus have all lent something to the story of salvation, then how much more will his own mother offer? Just imagine her in the stable on Christmas, or later, perhaps more comfortable in a rocking chair Joseph made. Picture Mary when her son first experiences injustice on the streets or at the playground, or when Jesus sees the brutality of Roman soldiers and the violence of empire. Hear Mary, time and again, singing the words of today’s reading over her child Jesus, hoping he will take them to heart.

REFLECT: Where do you see the themes of Mary’s Magnificat in Jesus’ life and teaching? Where do you see them in your own life?

PRAY: Holy One, spark genuine joy within me. Give me joy at being your servant, joy at doing justice, joy at serving others, and joy at caring for those who are young or vulnerable. May my words and deeds sing a song of praise for the great things you have done for me. Amen.

FIND: Find something that sparks genuine joy for you, even or especially in the midst of hard times. Examples might include a program from a special event, a memento from a particular occasion, a photo of a person who brings you joy, or your baptismal candle. Add it to your Jesse Tree.