Today’s passage is known as the ‘Magnificat’ in some Christian circles. I remember singing a version of it for a carols service at St Peter’s Cathedral when I was in high school. It was an amazing four-part choral piece that reverberated beautifully around the Cathedral when sung acapella. It was truly a magnificent sound, and as far as I knew at the time, it was a song about how magnificent God was.
The song grew a new significance for me in my last year of high school when I came to realise it was the song of a rebel teenage girl. Not only does she sing about how amazing God is, but she sings about how he is turning the world upside down. How he is scattering the proud and lifting up the humble. How he gives to the hungry but sends the rich away empty. This teenager girl, pregnant out of wedlock, demonstrates an incredible understanding of God’s Kingdom values through this song.
She has experienced these Kingdom values, experiencing God’s incredible grace, receiving honour and blessing from Elizabeth where others may have expected her to be shunned. In the whirlwind of the last few months she has experienced personally, and intimately, the upside-down nature of God’s Kingdom.
Today there is a temptation for us to align the gospel with middle-class life, and middle-class values. Scripture is clear that God has a heart for the last, the least and the lost within our communities. Jesus talks about the difference between the sheep and the goats as those who fed the hungry, invited the stranger in, clothed those in need, looked after the sick, and visited the prisoners (Matt 25:31-46). Leading up to Christmas, how might you demonstrate the values of the Kingdom? How might you give without need to receive? How might you provide for or spend time with those in need? Spend some time praying through practical ways you might be able to demonstrate God’s Kingdom values this Christmas.