Sunday 23rd December (Advent 4C)

One of my grandfathers used a magnifying glass when reading the newspaper. If we were visiting and he wasn’t reading I discovered how it magnified the heat of the sun, the detail of my fingerprint, the detail of a flower. That early fascination led to an interest in close-up photography and a different view of the world around me.

There are some things in life that become larger than life. History can magnify events. The disiastrous landing of the ANZAC force at Gallipoli in World War I, has become ‘the making of a nation’.

There’s a biblical theme of God making little things great: the little town of Bethlehem, Bethlehem of Ephrathah, the home of Elimelech, Naomi, Boaz, the adopted home of Ruth, the home of Jesse, the birthplace of David and, according to Luke, the birthplace of Jesus.

Micah speaks out about God’s presence, about judgement AND salvation. Jerusalem, walled and fortified, was under seige; a judgement against reliance on military power for its security.
Salvation, said Micah, would come from the small, insignificant Bethlehem. Salvation would not be found in strength but in weakness and insignificance; in images of birth, a difficult, painful, doubtful moment of life or death; fragility.

God’s way is way of weakness, insignificance, lesser importance. Mary captures this: in finding favour in this lowly one, the proud are scattered, the powerful brought down, the hungry filled, the lowly lifted up, the rich sent way empty. Mary’s life, her inner being, her heart and words, magnify the Lord! Could it be that we are called to this also; created to magnify the Lord, to make the Lord LARGE?
(Adapted from a sermon from some years ago, which may have drawn on material from other, long-forgotten, sources.)
        © Jeff Shrowder, 2012.
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