Mary’s Magnificat

This morning I was reading in Luke about Mary’s response to some surprising news (AKA, you are going to give birth to the Messiah).  After being blessed by her cousin Elizabeth, also dealing with a surprise pregnancy, she responds with what’s typically known as “The Magnificat” (from the Latin word ‘magnifies’):

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.”

– Luke 1:46-55 ESV

This continues to be one of my favorite passages.  I am struck by the beauty of Mary’s words and the sturdy trust that she clearly has in God.  It is a passage that causes me to pause and consider: what would my response be were I in her sandals?  Would I say yes and Amen to God’s plan given those circumstances?  Mary lived in a time that not only frowned on infidelity and promiscuity, but saw it as an offense punishable by death at times.  This would be a reputation that would remain with her throughout her life.  Mary’s yes was one of trust and surrender.  It was a yes that exposed her to ridicule from her peers, the confusion and mystery of being swept up into this cosmic event, and eventually pain upon witnessing her son’s gruesome death.  And yet, it was through her obedience that God orchestrated Christ’s birth.

In the church many have differing views of Mary.  She is a figure who is hotly debated tradition to tradition.  However, we can say without a doubt that she is a woman of great faith and trust.  The Magnificat is a beautiful glimpse into Mary’s heart and the unwavering trust in our God who invites us all into a larger story.

Lord, make us into the kind of people who say yes to you and your story, regardless of the cost.  We magnify you this Christmas!

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