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La gloria de Dios de acuerdo a María

Spanish | Luke 1–2



“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.”

– Luke 1:38


Mary, the mother of Jesus, is the most important person besides Jesus in Latin America. In fact, María is still the most popular name given to baby girls both in Latin America and Spain. Among Catholics, Mary is at the centre of theology and practice. For example, she is the central figure in the posadas, a Christmas celebration of Joseph and Mary’s arrival in Bethlehem that takes place during the nine nights leading up to Christmas. Among Protestants, Mary’s role is minor. She appears in Christmas celebrations but is almost non-existent during the rest of the year. Nonetheless, during the Christmas season, both groups highlight her example of hope and obedience.

Luke’s account of the Nativity sheds light on Mary’s deep faith in God. The narrative has two scenes. In the first scene, the angel Gabriel announces God’s message to Mary (Luke 1:26–38), and in the second scene, Mary visits her relative, Elizabeth, and expresses her thoughts and feelings in a poem known as the Magnificat (Luke 1:39–56). In the narrative, Luke presents Mary as a teenage girl with a clear understanding of who the God of Israel is.

In scene one, when the angel Gabriel speaks to Mary, he announces the coming of the Messiah, David’s son. After this announcement, Mary responds with total obedience to God by saying, “I am the Lord’s servant. May your word to me be fulfilled” (Luke 1:38). Even though she did not understand the process fully or how she would conceive the child, Mary was ready to obey God’s will with all that that entails. In light of the poem that follows in scene two, it is clear that her remarkable obedience is not just because an angel appears to her. Her deep knowledge of God and His plan of liberation helped her to say “Yes” to God in that critical moment.

In this Advent season, Mary gives us an example of how a deep conviction, rooted in God, can lead us to obey Him even when we do not fully understand how God will fulfill His will through us. God’s glory is still being made manifest among us. God wants to advance His history of salvation through us by expanding His kingdom on the earth. Let’s follow Mary’s example of costly obedience, which rests upon a deep knowledge of the God who sent His beloved Son to save us.

In scene two, Mary’s beautiful poem of praise, the Magnificat, reflects her hope in God’s promises of liberation. She calls God her Saviour (1:47). She knows God is the God who reverses fortunes—who brings down the mighty and sends the rich away empty, who exalts the humble and fills the hungry with good things (1:52–53). She was waiting for God’s mercy, which was once spoken to her ancestors (1:54–55). Mary connects this hope with the angel’s message. It is evident that, while the angel was speaking, she realized that this hope for liberation and great reversal of fortunes was becoming a reality right before her eyes. God´s glory was concretely manifested in her time. The Magnificat reveals Mary’s heart. The deep hope that she had cultivated as a faithful Israelite enabled her to recognize and rest in God’s purposes being fulfilled.

Like Mary, we await God’s full salvation. In the midst of struggles and uncertainties after the pandemic and the effects of a faraway war on our Guatemala, we are waiting for God’s reversal of fortunes. As we celebrate that our Saviour has been born and will come again, we can say with Mary, “the Mighty One has done great things for me … His mercy extends to those who fear Him, from generation to generation.” In that confidence, we can also follow the example of Mary and rest in the sure hope of God’s redemption, persevering through challenging times in the light of that hope.

Guatemala City, Guatemala

Dr Nelson Morales Fredes is a Langham Scholar and Langham–published author who currently serves as Academic Dean and Professor of New Testament and Hermeneutics at Seminario Teológico Centroamericano (SETECA) in Guatemala City, Guatemala.

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