December 16, 2013

The First Songs of Christmas

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.”

Luke 1:46-47; 49 (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 four 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 first song of Christmas 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.  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 heart is loyal 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.”