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The Song of Hope

The Song of Hope

Luke 1:39-45

Luke 1:46-55

Pretty much everywhere you go this time of year you’ll hear Christmas music, right? Which is great! I love it! Christmas is a time for music and song! Advent not so much, there are precious few Advent hymns... but Christmas hymns and song are plentiful. There’s a whole genre that’s grown around Christmas music: with everyone from Bing Crosby, to Elvis, to Michael Buble’ recording Christmas albums.

Of course, everyone has their favorites! “Joy to the World” or “Silent Night” usually rank pretty high. Maybe a more contemporary song like, “Mary Did You Know?” or something by Penatonix, “White Winter Hymnal” or “Carol of the Bells”?

Sometimes, especially when you get a song stuck in your head, do you break out in whistling or humming (or actually sing the words to yourself)? I know I do. I heard someone say just last week that they usually find themselves humming Christmas songs until March every year! There’s something about the words of the songs that strike a cord within us, and that cord echoes throughout our lives... through the good times, and the not so good.

In fact, it’s been said that “hope is a song in a weary throat...” (Repeat)

I’m sure Mary could relate. She breaks out into song... singing praise to the God who chose her (of all people) to be the mother of hope; Jesus, the Messiah. Can you imagine? “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. And from now on, all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me - holy is His name.”

You know, I can’t help but wonder: if this is a song Mary “hummed” when she was making her way along the dusty roads of her life? Was it a song that her parents taught her - that she’d heard over, and over again - and was seared in her memory? Or... did she produce it from somewhere deep within, from the Spirit within her, determined to give voice to what she KNEW to be true, even when her life seemed to be caught in uncertainty?

The Gospels tell us Mary’s future was anything but certain. A pregnant teenager, the child wasn’t Joseph’s (and he knew it)! He was actually making plans to “spare” Mary from public disgrace - before an angel intervened and convinced him to do differently. But Mary knew the truth... a truth that Joseph would come to accept, too.

Regardless... she sings, and it’s indeed, a song of hope, from a weary throat.

And that hope inspires us to sing, too!

Because plenty of times in this life, we sing through our weariness... we may be fearful of the future, or even the present... there are so many things in this life that causes us grief, and causes uncertainty. But, like Mary, the song placed in our hearts is not bound by our circumstances! We often sing a song of hope despite our circumstances, right? A song of peace, joy and love. A song as old as the Faith we live.

Of course, our song, like Mary’s, won’t always the loudest or the most popular. But it’s one we can’t help but sing! The “tune” gets stuck, not only in our heads, but in our souls! It’s a song of Good News of great joy!

It’s the song the angel sang to the shepherds keeping watch over their flocks by night... “Do not be afraid, for I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people! For unto you, is born this day, in the city of David, a Savior, who is Christ, the Lord.” And often, though tears, and with garbled voices, in the midst of sorry and joy... we sing... we share the song of mercy and grace, handed down from one generation to the next... forever and ever.

And that song, that sweet, sweet song of Good News, always comes to mind, when we need it most.

The truth of the song causes us to sing all the louder: because:

*His mercy is for those who fear him... who love and serve him.

*He has performed mighty deeds, that humble the proud and lift the lowly.

*He has filled the hungry with good things, and continues to show his love, keeping his promises and giving us a new song to sing.

Of course, you and I can never hope to grasp the words of such a song, making them our own, until we find life in the music.

Maybe after we’ve “walked-up hill a few times” on our own (maybe supported by others who’ll join along side us) we begin to finally find voice in the lyrics.

Maybe the song of faith becomes real for us, when we’ve experienced the reality of the promised life the Good News brings (a promised reality we long for - like a river flowing in the desert, or like a deer pants for water, or like honey that’s sweet to the lips and gives strength in our weakness), we long for, and we live into that life, with all our weary soul.

You and I are called time and again to offer our song! To “rejoice always!” - “To sing for joy to God our strength; to shout aloud to the God of Jacob! To strike the timbrel and play the melodious harp and lyre.” To “sing of the Lord’s great love forever; with [our] mouths {we} make God’s faithfulness known through all generations!” To proclaim, to sing with joy, both for ourselves, and for the weary among us... to find hope.

And, maybe... just maybe... as we sing to encourage ourselves, and those around us, with the Truth, that Love has come, a light in the darkness... that Love will be proven greater than any present (or future) uncertainty. That’s the Good News of the Gospel! Amen.

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