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12/15/2016

BRINGING DOWN AND RAISING UP

(And Mary said) "He has brought down the mighty from
their thrones and exalted those of humble estate"
(Luke 1:52).     Read Luke 1:51-55.
 
I used to snoop around the house to find the presents
from mom and dad. Their solution was to wrap up the
presents a few weeks early, then put them under the tree
-- without any name tags on them. We examined those
packages with magnifying glasses but found no clue as to
which present belonged to which of us five boys. My
solution was daring and brilliant: I found the biggest
package under the tree and claimed it as my own.
Whenever we posed for pictures I stood by my beautiful,
huge present. Of course, on Christmas morning it always
ended up belonging to one of my brothers.
 
A few days back we discussed the stigma the Jewish
culture put upon childless couples like Zechariah and
Elizabeth. That proud and arrogant attitude plagued the
entire Jewish culture. It was commonly thought that God
showed His favor to certain people by giving them wealth,
power and prominence. And He showed His displeasure
to others through poverty, disease and a low social
standing.
 
Mary's experience shattered that foolish presumption.
God passed by all the virgin daughters of the rich,
powerful, prominent families in Jerusalem, and instead
He chose an unknown girl from an obscure city in the
despised north. Jesus would say it best, "Whoever exalts
himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself
will be exalted" (Matthew 23:12).
 
None of us can stand before our pure and holy God in our
own righteousness. Our only hope is through the humble
Christ Child, born in a lowly manger, nailed to a despised
cross, raised to glory on the third day, and seated at the
right hand of God the Father in heaven.
THE PRAYER:
 
Heavenly Father, You humble the proud and raise up the
lowly. Turn me from my arrogant, sinful pride that I may
cling to Jesus Christ, My Lord and Savior, my pride and
joy. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
 
(Advent Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries)

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