Isaiah 61:7-11’ Psalm 34:1-9; Galatians 4:4-7; Luke 1:46-55“Mary is the highest woman and the noblest gem in Christianity after Christ. She is nobility, wisdom, and holiness personified. We can never honor her enough. Still honor and praise must be given to her in such a way as to injure neither Christ nor the Scriptures.” (Martin Luther - Christmas sermon 1531) Teachings on Mary’s perpetual virginity, her immaculate conception, (that she was conceived in the normal way yet without sin) or her assumption into heaven have little or no basis in scripture. On the other hand Lutherans have historically not given Mary her due, relegating her to a once a year supporting role in the parish Christmas pageant. Luther wrote in 1521 “One should honor Mary as she herself wished and as she expressed it in the Magnificat. She praised God for his deeds. How then can we praise her? The true honor of Mary is the honor of God, the praise of God's grace.” The lessons for the Sunday when we rightly honor Mary, the Mother of our Lord, direct us to the least and the lowly, which is what Mary was before being elevated to “the highest woman and noblest gem in Christianity.” Isaiah imagines those once clothed in shame and disgrace wrapped in robes of righteousness wearing garments of salvation. David, a poor man calling on the Lord saved from all his troubles, remembers a day of deliverance so that the afflicted will taste the goodness of God and rejoice. When the time had fully come Mary gave birth and God entered the closed circle of death so that the Galatians weighed down by the Law might be set free by the Gospel along with the rest of the world. And Mary, the blessed lowly servant sings the song of the future, rejoicing in God her Savior despite the danger the Lord’s favor might bring her, because she believes what she has been told. Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus.