22nd December

Today I travel home to Kerry for Christmas. I will return to Donegal next Wednesday.

Today’s gospel is Mary’s Magnificat (Luke 1:46-56)visitation(1)

‘My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord
and my spirit exults in God my saviour;
because he has looked upon his lowly handmaid.
Yes, from this day forward all generations will call me blessed,
for the Almighty has done great things for me.
Holy is his name,
and his mercy reaches from age to age for those who fear him.
He has shown the power of his arm,
he has routed the proud of heart.
He has pulled down princes from their thrones and exalted the lowly.
The hungry he has filled with good things, the rich sent empty away.
He has come to the help of Israel his servant, mindful of his mercy
– according to the promise he made to our ancestors –
of his mercy to Abraham and to his descendants for ever.’
Mary stayed with Elizabeth about three months and then went back home.


This is the commentary of Premier Christian Media and Dr Micha Jazz.

Jayne and I love time together. We have Monday together, earmarked for adventure. Now, adventure for us is less an extreme ride in a theme park and more of a gentle walk in the countryside or a visit to a market town. The point is, we have time and we make our choices about how to spend that time.

It’s lovely to feel we’ve control of our own destiny. However, God alone has overall authority over our lives. We either seek to avoid this and ignore God’s word, like Jonah, or humbly submit, like Mary. Remarkably, having found reassurance through visiting Elizabeth, Mary’s next response is to worship God. When God invites me to submit to his will – contrary to my own preferences,  worship is the last thing I consider. I kick off with a series of complaints. God’s yoke, which Jesus described as easy, feels uncomfortable and chafes my neck. The burden is not light, for it draws all of my emotional anxiety into the pit of my stomach and robs me of any peace of mind.

The Magnificat reveals the exceptional grace of Mary. She not only humbly submits to God, but proclaims the wonders of God: in part prophetically, for how much more can she know through the eyes of her remarkable faith?

Following numerous tests, the medical prognosis for Katey and I was that we could not have children. Somehow this settled quickly within me and I never failed to speak of God’s ability to reverse that decision. I chose publicly to take my stand with God and believe that we’d have children after all. This wasn’t denial but a way of expressing my continuing confidence in God, despite our disappointment. I saw that I had a choice to drag God down to the level of my own experience, or to invite God by grace to lift me to the level of his experience, which was knowing that “For those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28, ESV). Somehow, like Mary, we stumbled into the heart of that truth.

QUESTION: Read the Magnificat and consider if you are able to submit freely to God’s will in your life?

PRAYER: O Lord my God, my soul praises you for your goodness and your grace. For who you are and for all you’ve done.