Advent Day 3: Rejoice? Really?

“My soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,” sings Mary. (Luke 1:46-47)

In spite of all I wrote yesterday (or in addition to all I wrote yesterday),  I must ask:  Rejoice?  Really?

I would have said that “My spirit trusts in God”  might be a more appropriate wording for Mary here.  It seems a bit premature, doesn’t it, to talk about rejoicing?  For the moment the mighty are still on their thrones and the proud haven’t been scattered anywhere. (You have to keep reading after verse 47) Nor have the lowly had any change in life circumstance.  Rome, ever the conquering tyrant, is still in control about to demand a new round of taxes.  And besides, childbirth in Mary’s time, brought all sorts of risks.  Of course she would have to trust God.  But rejoice about it?

And if one peeks into Matthew’s gospel, it gets worse.  Joseph is questioning whether to marry Mary after all.  The birth of her baby followed by a visit by eastern sages will send the governing authorities searching to kill her child along with a village of toddlers.  There will be plenty of opportunities to trust God through dangerous circumstances on her flight into Egypt, but rejoice?  Really?

Yes.   Mary trusts God so much, trusts that God will bring good and keep promises so much,  that she rejoices in what is yet to be accomplished.  She can sing and rejoice with such gusto because there is an underlying trust that God is going to keep the promises.

So it is not only rejoicing going on here. Nor is it a simple question of is-your-cup-half-full-or-half-empty optimism. In fact Mary’s belly-laugh rejoicing is a testimony to gut-wrenching trust in the face of danger and misunderstanding.  Woman made brave by a Holy Spirit turned loose! Radical trust bursts like flame into an exquisite rejoicing over what is yet to be!

Is it really only for Mary?  Will God help us to trust God’s promises like that?