December 18, 2005

Exaltation, Exultation

Luke 1:46-56

"My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior ..." Luke 1:46-47


We all know there are different names for groupings of animals. We speak of a herd of cows, a school of fish, and a flock of sheep. Perhaps less familiar is a parliament of owls, a mob of kangaroos, and a murder of ravens. My own favorite is an exaltation of larks. That name is also fitting for a group of Christians. Where Christians gather, we have an exaltation. And leading us in exalting the Lord is Mary. Her soul soars as she glorifies (exalts) the Lord. You've noticed how much joy there is at the heart of the Christmas event. Of course, there are shadows--Zechariah's doubt, imperial Rome, murderous Herod and his soldiers. Still, at the center there is rejoicing (exultation). For example, Elizabeth says, "The baby in my womb leaped for joy" (Luke 1:44). And later the angel says to shepherds, "I bring you good news of great joy" (Luke 2:10). Behind all the festivities--the parties, the family gatherings, the special church services and programs, the exchange of gifts--is the yearning for joy. Our hearts long to leap for joy in the dark of winter. Joy is at such a premium in this season that it heightens our awareness of the loneliness, sadness, and death that cling to us. We know life is no lark. Yet we exult; we exalt the Lord, who is mindful of our humble state.

O God, in the light of your grace, may we sing and make music in our hearts to you and always thank and praise you with joy. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.

About the author — Jack Roeda

Rev. Jack Roeda is the senior pastor at Church of the Servant Christian Reformed Church, Grand Rapids, Michigan, and an adjunct professor of preaching at Calvin Theological Seminary. He is married to Carol Sue Kok, and they have three children and two grandchildren. Pastor Roeda has served two previous churches: Exeter (Ont.) Christian Reformed Church and Calvary Christian Reformed Church, Holland, Michigan.

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