“Mom, why is there a magnifying glass in the Advent box?”
Each day of Advent, my boys have opened one of the tiny doors on our Advent box and pulled out an object. We then talk about what the object symbolizes and read a passage from Scripture.
I asked the boys to listen closely as I read the day’s Scripture passage to see if they could figure out why I had put a magnifying glass in the box.
“My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name. And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts; he has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate; he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his offspring forever.” Luke 1: 46-55
We talked about what a magnifying glass does; how it makes small things larger. We talked about the humility of Mary and how she magnified the Lord in her life. And we talked about what it looks like for our own souls to magnify the Lord.
I continue to mull that passage over in my mind. Does my own soul magnify the Lord? Does my life make the God we can’t see, larger and more visible? Do I reflect Him to those who don’t know Him? Or do I live my life trying to magnify myself rather than God?
This season, as I’ve prepared my heart for Advent, I’ve found myself comparing my own heart to that of Mary. And I’ve found it wanting.
Then I think about Mary, who she was, where she came from, and how God used her. God often uses the least likely people to build his kingdom. He likes to work through our human weakness, giving us His strength. A small shepherd boy became a king. A poor, unwed young teen carried the Christ-child. An uneducated fishermen became the founder of the early church.
The Spirit pierces the heart and points me to the truth— I can’t compare myself to anyone, I must instead look to Christ. It’s because of Christ’s birth, life, death and resurrection that I am completely accepted and loved by the Father. It’s not my own worthiness. It’s not my hard work or effort. It’s Jesus and because of Him. Even when my heart doesn’t magnify Him as Mary’s did, God sees my heart as perfect because He sees Jesus’ righteousness in my place.
And it’s Jesus who will enable me to magnify the Lord in my life. He is working in me the way He did with David, Mary, and Peter–refining my heart until it shines like gold. He took a small, unimportant shepherd boy and made Him into a great king. He took a poor, young, and simple girl and made her the mother of our Lord. He took an outspoken and loud fisherman and made him into Peter, the Rock.
What can He do with me?
God prefers to work through the weak and weak is what I am. This Advent, I pray that He will use my weaknesses to magnify His name. And rather than focusing on what I can’t do or haven’t done, I am focusing on what He did do. After all, that’s what this season is about–Christ and why He entered this world.
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