Pregnant with Jesus, Mary sang these simple yet provocative words:
He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
He has brought down rulers from their thrones
but has lifted up the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things
but has sent the rich away empty.
What Mary sang of came true in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, and it is still true today through the work of Christ’s followers:
“[Yesterday] in India, IJM helped rescue 61 people from a life of slavery. Entire families were trapped in the brick kiln, and children as young as 5 years old were forced to work. Exhausted and malnourished, the children, women and men were living in makeshift tents – plastic tarps stretched over bamboo sticks.
“When IJM Bangalore discovered that dozens of people were trapped in the brick kiln as forced labor slaves, they took the evidence to the local government. But the brick kiln owner got wind of the pending operation, and it became a race to rescue the families before they were hidden away.
“On December 20, 2012, a team of IJM staff, police and government officials showed up at the brick kiln. All eight children were missing. The men and women fell to their hands and knees, begging to be set free and get their children back. The officials were deeply moved, unable to deny the reality before them. Eventually, a brick kiln supervisor confessed to where the children were – hidden in another brick kiln. The rescue team moved quickly to reunite the families and bring them to safety.” (link)
Christ was born that his followers may perform mighty deeds. Christ was born to judge rulers and lift up the humble. Christ was born to fill the hungry with good things—food, freedom, safety, peace, salvation— and send the rich away empty, and he has called his followers to continue this work.
We need no other explanation of the wholeness of the gospel than Mary’s song. Her song still rings aloud for the entire world to hear. The good news is an ushering in of Christ’s kingdom and the work of God’s people to put the world to rights. This is what Jesus was incarnated for, to rescue from sin, death, evil, darkness, malice, anger, hatred, cruelty, war, poverty and destruction. Every rescue is a continuation of the Christmas story. Every rescue is the gospel in its fullness: good news, freedom, new creation.