“What are you hungry for this Christmas?”
We are all hungry for something.
And I’m not talking about sausage balls, cheese dip, or ham biscuits from the office Christmas party,
I mean – – – the hunger that we have that sits in our soul is very different from a physical hunger.
If we explore our innermost thoughts and beings, we will find that we have hunger for acceptance from peers, a friendship or relationship that has been severed, more acknowledgements from our superiors at work, or more love from a spouse or significant other. We also have hunger for world peace, less violence, and more love.
Whether we feel and experience our hunger as personal or corporate – we are all hungry for something.
It’s funny, if you study the history after the story of Mary, Jesus and the change that came over the land in the next few hundred years . . . we will see that there was hunger abounding 2000+ years ago just like it is now.
And if we are not careful, hunger does dangerous things.
Constantine became the Western emperor in 312 ce, the sole Roman emperor in 324, and was also the first emperor to adhere to Christianity. He issued an edict that protected Christians in the empire and converted to Christianity on his deathbed in 337.
Interesting how Constantine made Christianity the state religion, however, when he discovered what it truly meant, he discovered that it might NOT exactly be what he was hungry for.
Once Constantine heard his chaplain reading Mary’s Song as part of worship.
He was so shocked by its content that he tried to ban its use other than in his palace. The embarrassed cleric had to explain that it was part of the Holy Scripture of his adopted religion.
Why would Constantine be upset by Mary’s song?
Because it shows us what God does with the hungry.
Here these words from Mary as recorded in the Gospel of Luke.
‘My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord
and my spirit exults in God my saviour;
because he has looked upon his lowly handmaid.
Yes, from this day forward all generations will call me blessed,
for the Almighty has done great things for me.
Holy is his name,
and his mercy reaches from age to age for those who fear him.
He has shown the power of his arm,
he has routed the proud of heart.
He has pulled down princes from their thrones and exalted the lowly.
The hungry he has filled with good things, the rich sent away empty.’
Mary is referred to as a handmaiden.
In those days a handmaiden was typically a female slave, used as a sex slave by the master of the house.
Yet – God chose her. She was a young woman who would have God’s spirit overshadowing her throughout her life.
That same promise that God gave Mary, God gives us. That is the promise and gift of the Christ Child!
We can have fierce joy in God’s overturning of worldly status.
We can know that God lifts up those who are downtrodden, feeds the hungry and dismisses those who are consumed by riches.
We know that God rejects arrogance and favors modesty.
She speaks – celebrating her God who has chosen her rather than any of the superpowers of the world, to be the channel of God’s goodness.
It isn’t surprising that when Constantine, a man of ultimate power, heard these words he was upset. This sort of turned the whole “power model” and structure upside down!
But what a great gift – God lifts up the lowly . . . and he fills the hungry with good things!
This is much more than physical hunger. This is spiritual hunger!
So today, as we get ready to near the last week of preparing for Christmas, I ask you, “What are you hungry for?”