My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior…
for the Mighty One has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
–Luke 1:46-49

The watchword for the third week of Advent is “rejoice,” and it is connected with Mary whose “soul doth magnify the Lord” (Luke 1:46 KJV). This week also has a different color than the other weeks: pink, for joy.

Mary’s words and the change in liturgical colors remind us that this time of waiting and preparation is a joyful time, that even in the midst of fasting and penitence we can know joy because, as Mary sang in the Magnificat, “God has done great things for [us].”

In my Protestant upbringing, Mary was simply a Jewish peasant girl who was the mother of Jesus. I’ve since learned that Catholic and Orthodox Christians have a much richer and more symbolic understanding of Mary. They call her theotokos, Mother of God, God-bearer. She is the symbol of humanity itself, fallen but willingly entering into a restored relationship with God through her “yes” to the angel’s proclamation that she would be the mother of the Messiah….

By bearing in her womb the Son of God, Mary makes possible the Incarnation and, thus, later, the crucifixion and resurrection. In so doing, she turns the mourning of our fallenness into the rejoicing of our redemption. It is God who does these great things, to be sure, as Mary herself proclaims, but how great a God we serve, that he would allow us, invite us, long for us to participate in his redeeming work in the world….

During Advent, we are to be like Mary, waiting actively, joyfully, and expectantly for the new life that has been and will be born into the world. And also like Mary, we are to be agents of this birthing. We are to bring the Light of the world into the world.

From Kimberlee Conway Ireton, The Circle of Seasons: Meeting God in the Church Year (InterVarsity Press, 2008), p 21-23.


Taproot Theatre Blogathon Update: Thanks to the generosity of Scott Cummins and Tiffany Werner, each comment will raise $3 for Taproot’s reconstruction efforts after the fire. If you haven’t yet, please go leave a comment on the blogathon post.