Mary’s Song, or The Magnificat as it is often called, is a beautiful expression of joy and hope. Here Stephanie brings us some truths from the passage.
This is the ninth installment in Stephanie’s series entitled “The 12 Days of Christmas.” Read Part 1 here.
For the final three days of this 12 Days of Christmas series, I want to focus exclusively on that first Christmas over 2,000 years ago. What does this story have to do with us?
Let’s begin by looking at Mary’s response when her cousin Elizabeth said in Luke 1:42, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!”
Luke 1:46-55 (ESV) says,
“And Mary said, ‘My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name. And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts; he has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate; he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his offspring forever.’”
A Young Woman’s Words?
Are these the words you would expect from a young woman who finds herself pregnant, unwed, misunderstood, and rejected?
Mind you, Mary had been visited by an angel who told her she would give birth to the Son of God. She had an amazing fiancé, who heeded the angel’s instruction to take her as his wife when he could have “put her away”—or worse, had her killed for infidelity.
And then, of course, there was Elizabeth’s declaration: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!” And how did she know this? The child within her, the forerunner of the Messiah, leaped for joy at being in the presence of his yet unborn Saviour.
Had they been written at the time, Mary could have attested to the words in John 16:32-33, which say,
“Behold, the hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home, and will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me. I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
Despite the trials and uncertainty Mary was facing, she experienced the ongoing wonder of her blessed calling. Her response is beautiful and challenging and sets a great example for us.
What can we learn and what can we teach our children—and others—from this passage?
Focus on God
Mary focused on the Lord, on His greatness, mercy, and grace. We can do the same. Even when we are faced with one heartache after another, God is unchanging. We can choose to turn our eyes on Him. When we discuss the challenges we are facing, let’s make it a point to spend more time focusing on who God is and what He is doing in our lives. This doesn’t mean we deny that we are struggling, but it teaches us to see how the Lord is at work even in the midst of our situation. By doing so, we set a wonderful example for our children.
Mary didn’t say, “Oh, look how wonderful I am! Of course, God would choose me to give birth to His Son.” No, she praised and glorified God, as should we. Let’s face it; sometimes we think we deserve the blessings God pours out, even if we’d never admit it aloud. And yet, the Lord blesses us because of His great love, a love we could never earn. This doesn’t mean we should go around with a long face, lamenting how sinful we are. Instead, we should rejoice that God loves us and has a plan for our lives, an amazing plan. Again, it’s about focus.
Pride is Not a Godly Trait
Mary says that God scattered the proud and brought down the mighty. Confidence in God and His love for us is a good thing. Getting the idea that this makes us more important than someone else is dangerous. Mary didn’t feel she earned the privilege God had given her, but she didn’t shrink from it either. I believe it’s just as wrong to say, “I could never do that,” as it is to say, “Well, of course, I could do that.” If God calls us to a task, He will equip us to do it.
God Fulfills His Promises
The Lord had promised to send a saviour hundreds of years before Mary became pregnant. There are many promises in God’s Word. In fact, as I’m reading through the gospel of John again, I am placing the letter “P” beside the promises I find there. As we read the Scriptures, we find promises God has fulfilled, those He hasn’t yet fulfilled, and those that He will fulfill in a unique way in our individual lives. We must hold onto His promises and trust that He will make good on each and every one of them.
These are only a few of the lessons we can learn from this portion of God’s Word.
Stephanie is a freelance writer and a contributor to our Christian internet radio station, HopeStreamRadio. Read and hear more from Steph Nickel on the contributor’s page or at Steph Nickel’s Eclectic Interests.
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Images courtesy of:
The Annunciation – Henry Ossawa Tanner
The Magnificat – Henry Tissot