Mary's Praise

And Mary said:

“My soul glorifies the Lord
47     and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has been mindful
    of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
49     for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
    holy is his name.
50 His mercy extends to those who fear him,
    from generation to generation.
51 He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
    he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
52 He has brought down rulers from their thrones
    but has lifted up the humble.
53 He has filled the hungry with good things
    but has sent the rich away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
    remembering to be merciful
55 to Abraham and his descendants forever,
    just as he promised our ancestors.” - Luke 1:46-55

By: Julia Streeter

Following my divorce, I moved my family into a humble apartment in North Andover, the partitioned-off servant’s quarters of a larger 1860’s colonial. As a single working mom, I confess I thought we’d be living there forever. Home ownership seemed so far out of reach, yet I was still grateful to be there. I was told the house belonged to the underground railroad and would find myself often reflecting on the many souls who had made their way through its narrow hallways seeking safety and refuge. After a difficult marriage, those thoughts brought me peace, comfort, and perspective. 

Two years later, we moved out. It was during that time that a former parishioner of Free Christian Church, Henrietta Hess, offered my family a precious gift. 

I first met Henrietta when I was four years old and was a frequent visitor to her home. We were neighbors and my parents still live next door to this day. By 2012, Henrietta’s husband had passed, she was living with her daughter and her house stood empty. While visiting with my parents one day, I looked over longingly at her home, imagining for a moment my family there, but quickly let out a sigh. I knew the neighborhood was more than we could afford. However, a little voice inside thought different, and prodded me to call Henrietta. So, one day I did, asking if she would ever consider selling the house. Much to my surprise, she offered me the home at an incredibly generous price that was well within my reach. 

It’s been more than six years and I am still easily brought to tears by her generosity. She has since passed on but not a day goes by that I don’t thank God and Henrietta for her selfless gift. 

Throughout the ages, God has provided safety and refuge for His people, often through the works of His faithful servants. I pray that during this holiday season we remain mindful of this and prayerfully seek His guidance so that we might continue to share His blessings through us, just as others have done before us. With Mary, may each of us always realize “he who is mighty has done great things for me.”