Yesterday we read Elisabeth’s praise when Mary comes to visit her. Today we hear Mary’s joyous response to God’s provision in her life.
My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.
For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
And 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 mighty from their thrones
and exalted those of humble estate;
he has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
as he spoke to our fathers,
to Abraham and to his offspring forever.”
This is a popular reading at Christmas, in fact I’ve even heard this praise set to music. Perhaps Mary herself sang these words. Praise often comes as song. I’ve read these words many times but what I’m struck with this time is what a beautiful picture of God’s character Mary paints with her words. Like Elisabeth, Mary rejoices that God has seen her, He has given her a place in His story and has done great things for her. Mary understands that the promise cherished for millenia is being fulfilled in her womb. The One she carries is the One she praises – the One they’ve been waiting for. Notice the words Mary uses to describe God – He is Savior, He has looked on His people, He has done great things, He is holy and merciful, He is mighty to save, He has helped and remembered His people, He has made the promise come true.
Behold how God works – it is not as mankind would expect. He throws everything on its head: He comes as a lowly peasant in a stable, but He throws the powers on the throne into confusion and ruin. He fills the needy and hungry with Himself satisfying their souls forever, but those who are self-satisfied do not perceive His worth.
Above all, see that God remembers. He calls out an elderly couple named Zechariah and Elisabeth. Did you know that Zechariah’s name itself means “God remembers”? God remembers and acts on His promises in His time. He remembers you. You are not outside the scope of God’s sight. He knows you and you are in His thoughts and plans. Just like for Elisabeth and Mary, God has plans for you. They are echoed in Mary’s praise – He wants to do great things for you. He pours out His mercy and grace for you, He wants to fill you with good things – with the light of His presence. He will surely help you and fulfill all His promises. Rest, rejoice, and savor the promise and praise of Advent – “God is with us”.
Blessings to you,