Musicians and vocalists will know this wonderful passage from Luke as ‘Mary’s Magnificat’. Gabriel has told Mary of the coming birth of Jesus and Mary has just visited her cousin Elizabeth – the Magnificat or Mary’s Hymn of Praise is her response – she sings praising God’s favor on her and the people. Mary’s song has similarities to Hannah’s song (1 Sam. 2:1-10). First, Mary praised God for His special favor on her (Luke 1:46-50). Mary saw herself as part of the godly remnant that had served Yahweh. She called God my Savior showing an intimate acquaintance with Him. She spoke of His faithfulness (v. 48), power (v. 49), holiness (v. 49), and mercy (v. 50). Second, Mary praised God for His special favor on Israel (vv. 51-55). Through the Child that she was to bear, God was being merciful to Abraham and his descendants. Mary was aware that the birth of her Child was a fulfillment of the covenant promises to Abraham and his people.
Mary proclaims her joy in God and she takes heart in the promise (here sung as a declaration of that promise) that the Lord considers, cares for, and acts on behalf of the lowly — despite what one might expect…it is not for kings or the mighty and powerful that the Lord has regard, rather it is for all the rest that God does great things. Mary identifies what God is doing as being not just for her but also through her for the whole people.
This song can be and should be, our song in this Advent season. We too can sing in thanksgiving…we can sing in celebration…we can sing in remembrance… Christmas is so much bigger than what our western culture makes it to be. As we approach Christmas Eve, let us have the celebratory joy in the promises that come to us in Christ Jesus. Let us shout out magnifying our God!!