Christmas time is a special time for believers all across the globe. Christmas is the day believers celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. In the Gospel of Luke, Mary sings a song of praise to God.
This song has now been coined, “The Magnificat,” which is Latin for “my soul magnifies the Lord.” Her worship song of God is extremely significant for believers today and Christians need to be aware of the important aspects one can glean from studying Mary’s Song.
Who Are Mary and Elizabeth in the Bible?
Mary’s song can be found in Luke 1:46-55. She starts her song of praise by singing, “My soul glorifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior” (Luke 1:46-47) and ends her song with the words, “He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, just as he promised our ancestors” (Luke 1:54-55).
When Mary sings this song, she is visiting with Elizabeth, who is her cousin (Luke 1:40-45). The Elizabeth mentioned in this passage of Luke is the same Elizabeth who will go on to be the future mother of John the Baptist.
Elizabeth and Mary were both pregnant at the same time; however, John the Baptist was born first, and Jesus was born shortly after. This is because John the Baptist had to prepare the way for the Lord (Mark 1:1-9). Elizabeth and Mary were close relatives and both loved God with their entire being.
Elizabeth was an older woman and thought she would never be able to have a child, but God answered her prayer, and she was able to conceive, become pregnant, and give birth to a son (Luke 1:36-37).
The same angel who visited Elizabeth and her husband came to visit Mary. The angel’s name was Gabriel and he told Mary that she had found favor with the Lord and that she was going to give birth to the Son of God (Luke 1:26-38).
The young teenager was frightened at first because of the brilliance of the angel; however, she trusted in the Lord and asked the angel how she could become pregnant if she was a virgin (Luke 1:34). Gabriel answers her, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:35).
As a teenager, who was already betrothed to a husband, to be found pregnant would cause Mary a great deal of unwanted attention. Even though Mary would have been scared, she chose to trust God and told Gabriel, “I am the Lord’s servant,” and “May your word to me be fulfilled” (Luke 1:38).
A Humble Song of Praise
As established, Mary was at the home of Elizabeth when she was filled with joy to worship God. Mary’s song was precipitated by Elizabeth’s statement in Luke 1:45, “Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!” At the end of this exclamation, Mary bursts forth in a wonderful praise song in honor of God. Mary sings,
“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).
The first significance of Mary’s song is that she chose to rejoice in God despite her circumstances. As a young teenager, Mary shows a great amount of bravery, gravitas, and faithfulness in being a willing servant of the Lord.
Mary would have faced intense ridicule and persecution for being pregnant before she was married to Joseph and possibly even death. Nevertheless, Mary not only accepts the gift of carrying the Son of God in her womb and the public ridicule associated with it, but she also sings a song of joyful celebration in honor of the Lord.
She never questions God or His goodness. If we self-examine ourselves, how many of us would be as willingly as Mary to be a servant of the Lord’s to the point of carrying the Son of God in your womb? How many of us would respond to this situation with an attitude of joy, praise, and worship?
From Mary’s song, we can learn about a girl who demonstrated true faithfulness to the Lord. She chose to worship and rejoice in God despite not knowing what the future held for her and the Son who would be born to her.
Humbleness and Thankfulness
Secondly, Mary acknowledges that the Lord is the One who has blessed her (Luke 1:46-49). She does not give credit to herself, nor does she take a prideful attitude. Mary knew she was a sinner in need of saving and she praised God, who was now bringing the Savior into the world.
Her attitude of humbleness and thankfulness is something we can all learn from this remarkable young woman. Despite the stance of the Catholic Church claiming Mary was sinless, Mary’s praise song to the Lord demonstrates that the young girl knew she was a sinner and needed redemption from the Savior just like the rest of the world (Luke 1:46-49).
Mary praises the Lord for His mercy, mighty deeds, and the things He had done for Israel (Luke 1:50-55). Thankfulness, praise, and worship are hallmarks of Mary’s song, which all believers need to cultivate this Christmas as well as in the other 364 days of the year.
Christmas is a time of worship, praise, and thankfulness to the One who has redeemed our souls from eternal darkness. Jesus being born into the world brought light, redemption, and saving grace into the world.
Christmas often gets undermined as being a holiday to buy the “best” or most expensive gifts for others, the holiday where you have to cook the “perfect” Christmas dinner, or the holiday where all your photographs are social-media worthy.
The true meaning of Christmas is none of these things as Mary’s song points us to the reality that Christmas is a time to worship, praise, and give thanks to the Lord. Christmas is all about Jesus, not about us, gifts, or special holiday parties.
God Has Everything Under Control
Thirdly, Mary’s song teaches us God has everything under control. Mary would have been nervous about giving birth to the Savior of the Lord, but she chose to reflect on God’s past faithfulness to Israel.
She sings, “He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, just as he promised our ancestors” (Luke 1:54-55). No matter what trial, struggle, or difficult season you find yourself in at this Christmas, be like Mary and remember God’s past faithfulness in your life.
God is always with you, and He will never leave you (Deuteronomy 31:8; Hebrews 13:5). Christmastime is a joyous celebration and God wants you to joyfully celebrate the anniversary of the birth of His Son into the world.
The Lord does not want you to be worn down by anxieties, stresses, and struggles on Christmas Day nor does He want you to be worn down by these difficulties on any other day of the year (Matthew 11:28-20).
Reflect on God’s past faithfulness and remember that God will go with you in all of the storms in your life. He does not promise to take you out of trials, but He does promise to walk with you through them (Psalm 23).
On Christmas Day this year, recall Mary’s song of praise. Mary was a young teenager when she was called to be a servant of the Lord and she willingly submitted to God’s plan.
Instead of complaining or being bitter towards God’s plan for her life, she trusted in Him and sang a song of worship to Him.
Just like Mary, may we always worship the Lord singing, “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior” (Luke 1:46-47). Merry Christmas dear friends!