I never understood the Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55) until I became an expectant adoptive parent.
The time it took to adopt our son B from China felt like a two-year pregnancy. Before we even met, we already loved him.
During our “gestation” period, we spent our time preparing for our new lives. We readied his new bedroom and made the house kid-friendly. We imagined all the things we wanted B to learn, see and do. We even tried to learn basic Chinese.
But most of all, we waited and waited and waited. It was hard not to grow impatient. We wanted him with us yesterday!
As a new parent, I now appreciate the emotions Mary must’ve felt during her pregnancy.
In our gospel from Luke, Mary’s cousin Elizabeth cries out to Mary:
“Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb…And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.”
Hearing similar kind words from loved ones, Melody and I couldn’t wait to become parents. The same gratitude that Mary expresses in the Magnificat filled our hearts:
My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior; *
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed: *
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name.
He has mercy on those who fear him *
in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm, *
he has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones, *
and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things, *
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel, *
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
The promise he made to our fathers, *
to Abraham and his children for ever.
Through the lens of human experience, God reveals much to us. He reveals hope for this world: Jesus, the son of Mary and the Son of God.
As we near the end of Advent, we must be like expectant parents. Let’s wait with joy and excitement for what will come next. And when that day arrives, Jesus will return in his full glory and we will receive God’s promise of mercy.