In Luke 1 the writer gives us the story before the story. He introduces us to three people with key roles in the soon-unfolding Christmas narrative. Each of these three lends a voice of praise with a theme that weaves itself throughout the story of Christ’s birth and through the greater redemption story. Today we’ll look at Mary herself. Mary is the voice of faith.
No question that Mary is a woman of tremendous faith. During Gabriel’s amazing visit, Mary was given one confirmation that the angel’s words were true – the pregnancy of Mary’s cousin Elizabeth.
This week, Mary sees that confirmation with her own eyes, and she hears Elizabeth’s joyful pronouncement that she is in the presence of the Messiah, the baby that Mary is carrying. That moment, being able to share and embrace the joy and wonder – possibly for the first time – causes Mary to break forth in a hymn of praise that has come to be known as the Magnificat. We can read it in Luke 1:46-55.
We can easily follow Mary’s example. Think of a time God has confirmed His word to you, or kept a promise or answered a prayer. What words of praise and thanks can you offer?
In verse 48, she says, “For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed.” This is not an exaltation of herself, because in verse 46 she has already stated that her soul magnifies the Lord. This statement is a recognition that God is doing something of eternal importance by sending a Messiah.
Do we recognize God’s moments? Do we care to know how they fit into His greater kingdom plan?
In verses 49-50, Mary highlights God’s strength, His holiness and His mercy. This is the one in whom Mary has placed her faith. He is not just a better version of us, He is transcendent. His strength is beyond strength. The proof is that He does great things, even for one such as Mary. And He shows us mercy because of His character, not ours.
Who is your faith in? What three attributes would you highlight about Him?
In verses 51-53, Mary says the Lord has “scattered the proud,” “put down the mighty” but “exalted the lowly.” He has “filled the hungry” but sent the rich away empty. Mary understood this is opposite of how the world worked and little has changed since Mary’s time. But she knew God sees and knows all about the overlooked and marginalized. She was a living testimony of that.
Do we have a heart for the lowly, for the hungry, and for the poor? Do the people who touch God’s heart also touch ours? Are we moved to act like He is?
Finally in verses 54-55, Mary connects the events in her life, in Elizabeth’s life to the covenant God spoke “to Abraham and to His seed forever.” God is a promise-keeper. His words are confirmed by His actions. He is worthy of our praise and He is worthy of our complete faith in Him. The Magnificat testifies to that.
Mary was not a lightweight. She was not a self-absorbed teenager. She was blessed with a keen knowledge and understanding of the Old Testament and that enabled her to begin making sense of what was happening with her pregnancy. Of course, we know that she will continue to ponder and meditate on all these things. But to her credit, Mary’s voice remains the voice of faith. May ours be as well.