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.”
The watchword for this 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 of Advent: 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 repentance 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. 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 what Malcolm Guite calls her “open yes” to the angel’s proclamation…