December 22 I Wednesday
And Mary said: “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.” —Luke 1:46-47, NKJV
The very first Christmas carol given to the church was the most dangerous and subversive Christmas carol that ever existed. It was banned in some countries because of the threat that it posed to those in power. Countries, such as India, Mexico, Guatemala and Argentina, had, at different points in their history, banned this song from being part of the liturgy that was read over the Christmas season. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German theologian, described the hymn as, “…the most passionate, the wildest, one might even say the most revolutionary Advent hymn ever sung.” The principles contained in this song are earth-shattering because it could actually turn the table on our understanding of what Christmas is all about.
This Christmas carol was not written by a theologian, scholar or even a man, but by a teenage girl from a small town, who was growing up in abject poverty in a foreign military occupied zone. Mary sang this song when she visited her cousin Elizabeth; she sang it while Christ was still being formed inside of her. Mary’s song is the longest set of words by a woman in the New Testament. Like any good worship song, what the Spirit led Mary to proclaim helps us make sense of Jesus’s ministry and the very heart of God.
Mary begins her song by proclaiming, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.” What we notice is that Mary’s whole being is oriented towards who God is as her soul magnifies and her spirit rejoices in God her Saviour. This song is commonly known as the Magnificat—the word magnificat in Latin means “magnify.” Mary’s song paints a beautiful picture of her humility and submission to God as she worships Him. As the song progresses, Mary thanks God, who has been mindful of her humble state, and is overwhelmed with joy at her role in His plans.
Could we imagine all the experiences that laid on Mary’s horizon, and the realities that she faced because of her “yes” to being a part of God’s plan? Mary was confronted with the scandal of her being pregnant, the relational discord between her and Joseph and the gossip that probably took place in Nazareth and Bethlehem.
Mary’s life reminds us that we may be in the center of God’s will for our lives, but that does not mean our life will not be full of challenges and pain. During the painful seasons of life, it is our worship that is a source of strength. May we cultivate a life of worship, a soul that magnifies the Lord and a spirit that rejoices in who He is.
Prayer: Lord God, my soul magnifies You and my spirit rejoices in who You are in my life. Thank You for being my Lord in the good and the bad moments of my life. Help me to worship You even in the tough times. Praise You!