A Christmas Carol
Is life turning out the way you thought it would?
Mary’s life had been a fairy tale story until that day. Life was pleasant and the future filled with hope. She envisioned a comfortable domestic life in the familiar surroundings of her home town. Then God intruded.
In the midst of an ordinary day, everything changed. With a few words from a stranger, one story ended and another started—suddenly and unexpectedly. The mysterious visitor had not come to bless her plans, but to announce a reality. God was calling Mary out of her story and into His.
Life would not turn out the way she had hoped it would.
The news was disorienting and filled with frightening prospects. Mary needed time to think deeply and sort through the implications. So she fled to a relatives home in the remote hills to the north. Over the next few months, Mary replayed the words of the messenger and laid them alongside the truth she had learned from childhood. As she did, she composed a song that personalized her conclusions (Lk. 1:46-55). The courageous lyrics calmed Mary’s heart in the midst of the crisis. I’ve thought a lot about this song.
I wonder how long it took her to compose the song.
I wonder how it sounded when Mary sang it.
I’ve noticed that the words are not confined to the birth announced by the stranger on that pivotal day. They are more like core, foundational truths that she had distilled into simple poetic statements and set to music. Perhaps the song became an anchor for her soul in the pain and turbulent times to come, confirming what was true even when life seemed to deny it.
I wonder if she sang it to Jesus as a lullaby.
I wonder if she sang it while grieving the death of Joseph.
I wonder if she sang it in the days following the Cross.
I wonder if in her later years she sang it for Luke.
Life has not turned out the way I thought it would.
I have found that God is always calling me out of my own story and into His. It often means the death of a dream or the loss of a precious priority. Each twist in the story ushers in elements of risk and uncertainty—essential for the exercise of faith. My response demands that I rehearse the truth once again and get my bearings. This year, as a Christmas gift to myself, I intend to rewrite Mary’s song in my own words … as my own song.