Mary’s song about the God who topples kingdoms and sends the rich away empty points us to the upside down subversive reign of God. We are invited to turn our attention to the poem of Isaiah: a king is coming and his reign of peace and fairness and justice will never end. Now, standing on this side of Advent, our minds shift from Mary’s song and Isaiah’s poem to Jesus’ prayer when he said, “Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
When you and I pray, “May your kingdom come,” we are saying, “May my kingdom go.” Like Mary I am reminded that God’s promise of the King who would usher in a different kingdom will not allow me to split loyalties. I can wisely use the systems of this world, but never believe in them to save. Only the king of a different kingdom can do that.
Advent proposes that we put our hope in Emmanuel, God with us, whose ever-present Kingship and the eternal life He brings is our well-being. Advent proposes that we put our hope in the Wonderful Counselor who can teach us the way of discerning life in a world of temporary kingdoms and false allegiances. Advent proposes that we put our hope in the Redeemer who joyfully declares that no one is ever beyond redemption. Advent proposes that we put our hope in the Eternal Father who shows us that all people are made in God’s image and that we are loved far more than we can ever imagine. Advent proposes that we put our hope in the Prince of Peace who invites us to become instruments of peace where, when we trade fear, selfishness, and bitterness for hospitality, generosity and forgiveness, we find the meaning of our identity as sons and daughters of God.
“Lord grant me the grace to do one thing at a time today, without rushing or hurrying. Help me to savor the sacred in all I do, be it large or small. By the power of the Holy Spirit, empower me to pause today as I move from one activity to the next. Unclutter my heart, O God, until I am quiet enough to hear you speak out of the silence. Forgive me for running my life without you sometimes. Help me to be still, to surrender to your will, and to rest in your loving arms. Amen.”