February 25, 2024 | Doug Sauder
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“And Mary said: ‘My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me— holy is his name. His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, just as he promised our ancestors.’”—Luke 1:46–55 (NIV)
What’s your memory like? If I don’t write it down, I’m going to forget. I will make lists everywhere, send myself e-mails, and ask people to remind me of things because in the busyness of life, especially in this season, my short-term memory doesn’t function at full capacity. But there’s Someone whose memory is perfect. Let’s discover Who that is.
In today’s few verses, Mary sings a song. It’s a song of joy, humility, and thankfulness. It’s referred to as the Magnificat, taken from the Latin translation of the first few words of verse 46. Remember, she had just been visited by the angel Gabriel, telling her she would give birth to the Messiah. Then her cousin Elizabeth reinforces this miracle by calling her blessed. In response, Mary sings! This should be our response when we encounter something miraculous.
Picture Mary. She’s a teenager, growing up in a culture where women weren’t valued. Instead, they were mistreated and viewed merely as property. The expectations that society placed on them was to marry as soon as they were able to bear children and then have children and care for their family. There was no career to aspire to in her life. Ordinarily, no one would remember her after a generation or so had passed. Women were not invited into the temple or encouraged to study. But when Jesus came, and as Luke takes great intentionality to include, He reverses societal norms and honors women, including this woman who was called to be His mother.
Mary’s song is significant because it indicates that somehow, despite cultural restrictions, she knew the Word of God. First of all, it parallels the song that Hannah sang. Hannah was barren, so she prayed for a son, and the Lord remembered her plea (1 Samuel 1:19). Her song in 1 Samuel 2:1–10 was her response to the Lord’s remembrance. In addition, Mary makes no less than 12 Old Testament references of significant events in Israel’s history. She threads these events through the lens of God’s power, faithfulness, and mercy.
The Bible is one big story about God, and Mary is humbled to be a part of His work. She refers to herself as a servant and acknowledges her need for a Savior. How humbling to be the one called to give birth to the Messiah. How incredible that the Sinless One would come through her, a woman who was fully human and liable to the effects of sin. She declares that the Mighty One has done great things for her, calling her blessed. That, in effect, is the power of the gospel, which transforms sin into righteousness through Christ’s blood shed on the cross (2 Corinthians 5:21). Everywhere the gospel is preached, this humble young woman will now be remembered throughout the world because her name is associated with Jesus’ name, the Savior of the world. The humble will be raised up. Oh, how great a mercy!
You see, even though we humans are forgetful people, God doesn’t forget His promises. He was faithful to the covenant He made with Abraham, and His covenant loyalty endures forever. Forever includes us who follow Jesus today, and this is why we get to celebrate His birth every year.
This Christmas, may your heart overflow with joy, humility, and thankfulness like Mary. Burst out in song! Turn up the radio! Humble your heart before the Mighty One, our Savior, who has come to be with us. He is merciful and keeps His promises—and that is good news!
Pause: How have you seen the promises of God play out in your life?
Practice: Turn on your favorite Christmas carols playlist, look up the lyrics, and sing all of the songs out loud. Take note of their biblical and doctrinal significance!
Pray: Thank You Jesus that You came for us. Thank You for Your remembrance and faithfulness. Thank You for including this song in the Bible through Mary’s words. May our souls magnify You, Lord, and may our spirits rejoice in You, God, our Savior. I pray this posture would not just be one we take during the Christmas season, but all throughout the year. Amen.
Denise Trio has been on staff with Calvary for almost two years, serving as the Director of Strategic Development. She has 10 years of project management experience, with a Bachelor’s degree in Architecture and Engingeering from Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA and a Master’s degree in Pastoral Counseling from Liberty University, Lynchburg, VA. When not on campus, Denise is either making her way through her book list at the beach, ordering tacos on any menu that serves them, or running her side business, The Rose Creative, which specializes in creating beautiful and meaningful products for her clients.