john davies
notes from a small curate

updated regularly
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Good News

    Blue Coat School 11/12/2002 and (slightly amended) 10/12/2003

    Luke 1.26-37

    Some news sounds good. And some news sounds too good to be true.
    Remembering that Mary would have been only a little older than you at the time these events took place, consider this: If you were Mary - or her brother - how would it have sounded to you - the news that Mary was pregnant, all of a sudden, with God's child?

    You can imagine how it would have sounded to the gossips down Mary's road:
    "She's pregnant and they're not even married!"
    "It's a disgrace!"
    "She says it's the Son of God!"
    "That's a scandal."
    "What a liberty."

    You can imagine how it would have sounded to Joseph:
    "I don't understand."
    "Is she lying to me?"
    "Has she been with another man?"
    "Is she just using me?"
    "What if she's right - what does that mean?"

    You can imagine how it would have sounded to the pompous religious leaders:
    "How dare this peasant girl say such things."
    "It's an abuse of our authority."

    One of the greatest things about the birth of Jesus is how Mary took the news which the angel brought her.

    It may have sounded too good to be true. But Mary didn't reject the news, she took it, and thought about it. And after some time, she realised just how good the news was, and she began to sing about what it all meant:
      "I'm bursting with God-news;
      I'm dancing the song of my Saviour God.

      God took one good look at me, and look what happened‹
      I'm the most fortunate woman on earth!

      What God has done for me will never be forgotten,
      the God whose very name is holy, set apart from all others.

      His mercy flows in wave after wave
      on those who are in awe before him.

      He bared his arm and showed his strength,
      scattered the bluffing braggarts.

      He knocked tyrants off their high horses,
      pulled victims out of the mud.

      The starving poor sat down to a banquet;
      the callous rich were left out in the cold.

      He embraced his chosen child, Israel;
      he remembered and piled on the mercies, piled them high.

      It's exactly what he promised,
      beginning with Abraham and right up to now." [1]
    We call Mary's song The Magnificat. It's a song which tells us that because God chose to come to earth through an ordinary young woman in a average village, the world would never be the same again.

    Jesus' coming to earth turns our expectations upside down, creates whole new possibilities for the future. As the angel said when breaking the news to Mary, "Nothing is impossible with God." And for ordinary people in average places, or struggling people in suffering places, that is very good news indeed.


    [1] Luke 1.46-55 from The Message