“Time to Turn the Tree Upside Down” CANTATA SUNDAY


“Time to Turn the Tree Upside Down”
Luke 1:46b-55
Dr. Bobby Hulme-Lippert
December 11, 2022

At least in households like mine…the bottom of the Christmas tree is for the durable ornaments, right? The ones we don’t mind getting chewed up by the dog or toppled by wrestling children or bumped by the feet of adults.

The top is for the beautiful ones. Delicate, costly, also pleasing to the eye.

But Mary’s Magnificat –

  • the words of which are printed in your bulletin and will be sung in Latin during this Cantata –
  • the words Mary declared as she was pregnant with Jesus –

they invite an idea that sits at the heart of the Christian faith: What if you turned the Christmas tree upside down?

Can you imagine?

  • The ones society too easily chews up, topples over, or bumps around…raised high?
  • Our own weaknesses, bumps and wounds… raised high as the locus of real strength?
  • And the pride and wealth and people and things of front-page power brought low?

The thought of turning the tree upside down can play on our imagination for some time…no doubt part of why Mary’s words have endured so memorably…though eventually I imagine we say, “if you turn the tree upside down, the tree won’t stand. It doesn’t work that way.”

But you know…when we listen to the words of the Magnificat – I don’t think Jesus came to stand the tree of this world just a little bit better. To straighten it just so.

He came to turn the world – and our hearts – upside down in the name of love.

A holy miracle we’d never believe possible…until he walked the earth and gave us a picture of…

the outcast raised high,
weakness made strength,
the proud tumbled low,
and death raised to life.

The Bible has a name for the place where Christmas trees stand upside down: it’s called the Kingdom of God.

It’s the spaces within and spaces without where the trees get turned upside down by the relentless persistence of love.

And today we have the privilege of meditating on the beautiful, the revolutionary, the surprising gift Jesus is giving to our world and our hearts. Amen.



About Dr. Bobby Hulme-Lippert