And Mary said,
“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. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; 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. He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.” And Mary remained with her about three months and then returned to her home.
These beautiful words from Luke’s passage are spoken by Mary as she visits her older cousin Elizabeth. From Adam Hamilton’s The Journey, we presumably know that Mary was a young girl of 13 and now pregnant while still engaged to Joseph. Instead of expressing total fright, insecurity and shame, Mary wonderfully expresses joy, confidence praise and purity of thought. This passage, known as the “Song of Mary” or “The Magnificat”, has been put to music for hundreds of years by many famous composers, including Bach, Vivaldi and Rutter.
As I reread this passage in search for meaning, I am struck by several things. First, Mary is totally awestruck that she, a humble and modest individual of little means, would be chosen by God as the blessed one to mother the most holy child. She has instantly become filled with an inner joy that surpasses any earthly titles or riches. What a feeling!
These words also bring back feelings and memories of my own mother who was an inspiration and role model for me. As a very young child, my mother was placed in an orphanage after her own mother died. After several years she was later adopted at age 11, and then sent from her native Georgia to France to attend boarding school until age 20. Her new adopted mother, a single college professor, would come for a visit every summer as she toured with groups of students. Despite this lack of a traditional warm family setting, my mother became a wonderful role model for doing the right thing, sharing with others and imparting a perspective on what is really important in life. She was realistic, yet optimistic and encouraging. In the passage above from Luke, my mother would probably have best played the role of Elizabeth. She was a good listener, empathetic and easy to be around. She brought out the best in others.
As of this writing our Sunday school class and a number of other groups are taking the initiative to sponsor needy families trying to make Christmas a bit more cheerful for young children. The caring and work done by PVUMC members is indeed an inspiration.
Prayer: Please pray with me that God will continue to inspire all of us with a giving and caring spirit which moves us to share our blessings at Christmas and throughout the year. Amen.