“And Mary said: ‘My soul exalts the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. For He has regard for the humble state of His bondslave; For behold, from this time on all generations will count me blessed.’” — Luke 1:46-48 (NASB)
Imagine the scene. The archangel Gabriel shows up in Nazareth, a place where nothing good could come from, and he approaches a young woman and tells her, “You have found favor with God.” That in itself would startle anyone, but this isn’t going to be your normal run in with an angel. Gabriel goes on, “Listen, you are going to become pregnant. You will have a son, and you must name Him “Yeshua” (Savior, Jesus). Yeshua will become the greatest among men. He will be known as the Son of the Highest God (El Elyon).” God will give Him the throne of His ancestor David, and He will reign over the covenant family of Jacob forever.” The world will never be the same after this moment. Because God doesn’t just send angels for fun…it’s to deliver a promise.
When we look at the Christmas season, it is usually to reflect on the promise of a Savior born unto us, Emmanuel, and there is no taking that away, but there were promises that a young woman saw that I think gets overlooked at this time. We all read the account in Luke 1 as the “Song of Mary” but I think we speed through it to get to good stuff about Jesus. That ain’t bad either so don’t go gathering stones, just put the brakes on and take a gander at Luke 1:46-55. In the Catholic tradition this song is known as “The Magnificat” and to quote MTS Professor Robert Tannehill…
“The Magnificat is both conservative and revolutionary, both personal and social in perspective. It is conservative because it affirms the fulfillment of ancient promises to Israel, but revolutionary because it proclaims the overturn of society. It is personal because it initially focuses on Mary, but it suggests that God’s choice of her—a person of low status—represents in miniature what God is doing for the poor and powerless in general.”
Anyway… the really cool thing about this song is that it is expressed by someone who has hidden God’s Word in their heart. It reflects of David from Psalm 34:2 “My soul shall make its boast in the LORD; The humble shall hear it and rejoice.” Luke 1:50 reflects what we read in Psalm 103:17, “But the lovingkindness of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, and His righteousness to children’s children.” And in verse 53 of Luke 1 we see a glimpse of Psalm 107:9, “For He has satisfied the thirsty soul, and the hungry soul He has filled with what is good.”
However, the real take away here is the parallel of something that might be a stretch but is worth noting. In 1 Samuel we read about a woman named Hannah. She is married and has not bore her husband, Elkanah, any children. Now you can check the story out for yourself (1 Samuel 1:1-3:21), there you’ll find stuff about worthless priests in The Temple (kinda like the Sadducees) and how a young man was dedicated to God by way of the Nazirite vow (Numbers 6 and can you say John the Baptist?) But what I wanna zoom in on is Hannah’s prayer in 1 Samuel 2. She also expresses her joy to an Almighty God after she has conceived and given birth to Samuel… “Because I have asked of the LORD” (1 Samuel 1:20c).
When you look at Hannah’s prayer and put it side by side with Mary’s song, I believe you’ll see two women, blessed by God, giving Him the praise due Him, both with sons who are dedicated, by their mothers, to do the will of the Father. Their prayer’s may not have been word for word but the heart for God is sure there and let’s face it, Samuel never did stray from doing the will of the One he was dedicated to and neither did Jesus.
Jesus told the crowds, “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill” (Matthew 5:17). This means that everything that was written in Scripture, before He came to be Emmanuel, God with us, was coming to fruition with His arrival. Jesus also said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” I believe that His mother had those ears to hear in the same way that Hannah had and when God fulfilled His promises to them, their hearts were filled with an unspeakable joy that only their souls could express. Though Christmas has passed, may our souls be filled with that same unspeakable joy as we reflect on God’s promises to us, wrapped in swaddling clothes, ready to go to the Cross and bring us back to Him. Amen?
Written by Chris Hughes: Chris, a graduate of The Colony of Mercy (11-2003) is married (Kathy) with two adult children (Kevin and Karen) and has been a Freedom Fighter contributor since 2008.
Daily Quote: “How does a soul magnify God? A mouth magnifies God by saying, “God is magnificent,” by speaking His praises. But no one hears a soul. No one but you and God.” — John Piper
This Week’s Verse to Memorize:
Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. — Romans 15:13