The Magnificat, Mary’s song, is Latin for “My soul magnifies the Lord.” When the angel visited Mary with the news that she would become pregnant, it wasn’t welcome news. She is an unwed Jewish teenager, engaged to a man who will not be the child’s father. It’s hard to imagine the complications, confusion and outright absurdity of the situation. Yet, upon reflection, Mary embraces God’s will and offers herself as a willing servant of the Lord. Her song reflects the deep devotion and commitment she has to God and to the task set before her. The coming of Jesus is the biggest event in human history. When Jesus was born, the shepherds were told the news by the angel and they immediately rushed to see the child. They shared with Mary and Joseph what had happened to them in the field and what the angel had told them. The story in Luke 2, says…”Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart.” What an incomprehensible chain of events. Yet, Mary was beginning to realize who Jesus was and what is to come.
Scriptures – Luke 1:30-33, 38, 46-55, 2:10-14, 16-20
Verses – Then Mary said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her. (Luke 1:38) “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant…. for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation.” (Luke 1:46-60) “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people; to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of heavenly host, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors.” (Luke 2:10-14)
Thought – Jesus was born just like every other human baby. He wore diapers, cried, spit up, and had to learned to crawl and walk. He had to be potty trained. He got sick. He needed the love and care of his parents, as all children do. It makes sense that Mary would have sung to Jesus when he was a child, perhaps “her” song. Mary would have told Jesus about the unexpected news delivered by the angel Gabriel and her feelings, and ultimate surrender. Although, the words Gabriel spoke seemed impossible to Mary. Gabriel said, “But nothing is impossible with God.” Mary knew this to be true and though the road had been difficult, God brought her family through. Jesus would have heard the story through the years and known what she had gone through. Years later, God asked Jesus to do a difficult thing, to die on a cross to save humanity. Though Jesus didn’t want to walk that road, he submitted and his words echo those spoken by Mary, some 33 years earlier, when he said, “Not my will, Father, but your will be done.” Perhaps in that moment he remembered his mother’s words, “Let it be with me according to your word.” Complete surrender.
Questions – To magnify is to give something a large place in your life. What do you magnify? What impacts your desires, values and identity? How do you think Mary and Joseph’s knowledge of Jesus’ divinity affected how they raised him and treated him? How do you think his foretold death affected their joy?
Response – Submit to God’s will in your life. Do it each day, and bit by bit you will move closer and closer to God.
Prayer – Lord Jesus, thank you for coming to live and die for my sins and the sins of the world. Help me to wholly submit to your will and to receive with joy and anticipation the plan you have for my life, with God’s help. Amen.