“And Mary said: ‘My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. … For He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His name. … He has filled the hungry with good things. …” Luke 1:46-47; 49; 53 (NKJV)
Christmas is a time for celebration, carols by candlelight, and great joy! A Savior is born! God provided just what we all needed. Luke’s Gospel records the first songs of Christmas. Traditionally, they have been called the Canticles of Christmas. A canticle is simply a song in Scripture that is not a psalm. Luke records five of these songs that present a powerful dimension of the Christmas story. The back story on each character and their relationship with God, how they responded, and the applications to our lives is practical, funny, and convicting. These songs were given Latin titles that come from the first words of each song. For the next four days I want to share these songs with you and some insights we can glean from them.
The best known song of Christmas from Luke’s Gospel is called The Magnificat. It reveals Mary’s response when she was told she would give birth to the Son of God. You can read it in Luke 1:46-55. Her response to such an unbelievable story is found in verse 38. It reveals her heart of faith. “‘I am the Lord’s servant,’ Mary answered. ‘May it be to me as you have said.’ Then the angel left her.” This is even more remarkable when you consider that she was just a young, unmarried, virgin, teenage girl in a Jewish culture that would have shunned her if not stoned her for being pregnant out of wedlock.
When I think of Mary’s willingness to be available to God, despite the social implications, and her faith to believe God despite the impossibilities of it all, I’m reminded of 2 Chronicles 16:9. It’s a promise to all of us! It says, “For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose hearts are fully committed to Him.”
I believe as God’s eyes scanned the globe; He saw in Mary a heart that was fully committed to Him. Little wonder that her acceptance of God’s plan and availability for God’s purposes turned to praise as she sings, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. … For He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His name.”
It’s no surprise that Mary would have included a line in her song for the poor and powerless, given that was her own condition in her world. In verses 52-53 she sang: “He has put down the mighty from their thrones, And exalted the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things, And the rich He has sent away empty.”
In Day 4 of our 12 Days of Giving Challenge buy some items to donate to your local food pantry while at the grocery store. Experience the joy of helping others whose pantry’s may be bare and encourage others to do the same on social media using the hashtag #WC12DaysofGiving.
As you “fill the hungry with good things” you’re being used of God. We’ll see you tomorrow for Day 5’s challenge!