Skip to main content

Advent Devotional #12

Today's devotion from Goshen College:


By Betty Schrag, assistant to the president

SCRIPTURE: Luke 1:46-55 (NRSV)
Scroll down for complete Scripture.


Mary’s Magnificat is a beautiful illustration of her
simple faith in a God she learned about from stories passed
down through her family line and from others in her faith

Every October when the air is cool and crisp, and the
leaves are beginning to change, I migrate east with my
siblings and our families to our roots, to the hills and
valleys of Pennsylvania. We spend time cooking together,
playing games, hiking, reminiscing and allowing our souls to
catch up with our bodies. For one week we live together once
again on the land where we, our parents and grandparents
grew up. Although the generations before us are no longer
living, we continue this ritual of gathering, bound together
by our common biological and spiritual ancestry, and by our
love for each other.

This fall, we set aside one evening to talk about family
dynamics at the request of a younger family member who
facilitated the conversation. As we shared our stories --
some humorous and some painful -- we recognized the common
thread of God's faithfulness to our family through the
years. We became keenly aware of how much the passed-down
stories of faith and failure have influenced the way we live
our lives. It was a holy moment. We sat in silence for a
long time. Nobody wanted to be the first to break the spell
of this sacred time.

"My soul is filled with joy . . . and holy is your name
through all generations, everlasting is your mercy . . ."


SCRIPTURE: Luke 1:46-55 (NRSV)
And Mary said,

'My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God
my Saviour,

for he has looked with favour on the lowliness of his
servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call
me blessed;

for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy
is his name.

His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to

He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the
proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and
lifted up the lowly;
he has filled the hungry with good things,
and sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his
according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to
Abraham and to his descendants for ever.'

View all of this season's devotions at

Goshen College
The views and beliefs expressed in the devotional piece prepared by
each individual reflect their own spiritual growth journey and
thoughts, and while created in a campus environment that encourages
thoughtful questions and reflection on biblical Scripture and
contemporary Christian themes, do not necessarily represent the
official institutional positions of Goshen College or Mennonite Church

We welcome students who desire a Christ-centered education shaped
* passionate learning
* global citizenship
* servant leadership and
* compassionate peacemaking.
Do you know someone who would be a good fit at Goshen College?
Find out more at .


Popular posts from this blog

Book: By the Waters of Babylon

Worship. It is what the church does as we strive to honor God with our lips and our lives. And then, many churches argue about worship. I have about a half-dozen books on my shelf about worship, but adding Scott Aniol’s By the Waters of Babylon to the shelf has been excellent.

First of all, Aniol’s work is not based on solving a musical debate. While that branch of worship is often the most troublesome in the local church, By the Waters of Babylon takes a broader view. The starting point is the place of the church. That place is a parallel of Psalm 137, where the people of God, Israel, found themselves in a strange land. The people of God, again, find themselves in a strange land.
Second, in summary, the book works logically to the text of Scripture, primarily Psalm 137 but well-filled with other passages. Then it works outward from how the text addresses the problems submitted in the first chapter into how worship, specifically corporate worship, should look in the 21st century Weste…

Put Down That Tablet! Exodus 35

Moses assembles the people of Israel at Sinai one last time before they set out into the wilderness, headed for the Promised Land. He gives them a reminder of some portions of the commands of God and emphasizes the construction of the Tabernacle (Exodus 35 link).He also gives the one Biblical mention of tablet-type mobile devices in Exodus 35:3, where the command is given not to use your Kindle Fire on the Sabbath Day. Some of you just groaned. Some of you skipped the one-liner, and others just missed it. I’ll address you all in turn, but first let us address the person who thought this might be the hidden meaning of that command. After all, we are so easily distracted from our worship and commitment by all of the digital noise around us, why would we not take this text in this manner?The quite simple answer is: because it is not about digital devices. In total, the command to focus the day on Yahweh, Covenant God of Israel and all of Creation, and if your device subtracts from your f…

Book Review: The Heart Mender by @andyandrews (Andy Andrews)

The Heart Mender: A Story of Second ChancesEver read a book that you just kind of wish is true?  That's my take on The Heart Mender by Andy Andrews.  It's a charming story of love and forgiveness, and it's woven into the historical setting of World War II America.  For the narrative alone, the book is worth the read, but the message it contains is well worth absorbing as well.However, let's drop back a minute.  This book was originally published under the title Island of Saints.  I read Island of Saints and enjoyed it greatly.  Now, Andrews has released it under a new title, with a few minor changes.  All of this is explained in the Author's Note at the beginning, but should be noted for purchaser's sake.  If you read Island of Saints, you're rereading when you read The Heart Mender.  Now, go ahead and reread it.  It will not hurt you one bit.Overall, the story is well-paced.  There are points where I'd like more detail, both in the history and the geog…