Prayer - What Child is this?
A child changes everything. In our mundane, ordered lives, nothing disrupts the predictability of our routines more than when a child is part of the family, the community. Because they have entered the picture, everything seems to stand still. When a child is born we marvel at the sheer miracle of birth, everything in miniature, and the innocence of the infant invades our complex priorities. Life is forever changed.
Imagine Mary pondering, not only the fact that she, a teenager, will soon have a child to change her world like so many other mothers but that the child she bears will change ALL the world, impacting all of history. She is having a child that participated in Creation and will continue to change everything for all eternity.
So out of her heart there erupts a song, a prayer, and it is recorded in Luke 1:46-55. It is called "The Magnificat" which has inspired a whirlwind of music throughout the centuries. Those composers, through their art, tried to capture a glimmer of Mary's heart but did they consider the change this child made for her and for the world.
One thing that impressed me as I read Mary's prayer was verse 48, "for He has been mindful of the humble estate of His servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed." The word for ‘blessed' is the Greek word, "markarios" which translated means to be indwelt by God. When Mary says many will call her ‘blessed,' she isn't prideful but has recognized that God's indwelling has given her peace and full satisfaction. When we ask God to bless us or speak well of us, we are asking to not merely approve of our plans but to interfere with our lives, change us.
Mary's prayer declares God's interference into her life. She celebrates the change in her world but not because of anything she has done but the satisfaction that God gives when He dwells within.
What Child is this for you?
In light of the change this Child makes, is the other side of the Christmas season and how it is wrapped in traditions - things that stay the same from year to year because they are comforting and, yes, predictable. Some say, "it just isn't Christmas for me if I don't do this?" or "now it feels like Christmas" because something has been ticked off the list of the season's schedule. But in the midst of these traditions, do you still have room for a child to disrupt your order? Will a song, a prayer, come fresh from your lips because He, the Christ Child, has turned your world upside down? Do you allow Him to use you as a means of change in your family, your workplace, your place of worship? Will you allow this Child to change your life in the midst of your ordered traditions?
For some, this Christmas is already changed because a loved one has gone or something catastrophic has happened that has torn the fabric of the season's trappings. It is here that we all experience, at one time or another, this significant ‘change' and we hold out for His indwelling because we are totally empty without it. I daresay that sometimes our traditions keep us from experiencing the ‘indwelling change' that this Child stands eagerly to do for us. Can that be your prayer this Christmas as His child?
Read Mary's prayer again and then each time you sing a Christmas song or carol, realize that you are singing a prayer for a Child born to change you, interfering beyond your circumstances, and to dwell, to bless.
What Child is this?