“My heart is overflowing with praise of my Lord, my soul is full of joy in God my Savior. For he has deigned to notice me, his humble servant and, after this, all the people who ever shall be will call me the happiest of women! The one who can do all things has done great things for me—oh, holy is his Name! Truly, his mercy rests on those who fear him in every generation. He has shown the strength of his arm, he has swept away the high and mighty. He has set kings down from their thrones and lifted up the humble. He has satisfied the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away with empty hands. Yes, he has helped Israel, his child: he has remembered the mercy that he promised to our forefathers, to Abraham and his sons for evermore!”—Luke 1:46–55 (PHILLIPS)
What’s the best thing that’s ever happened to you? What’s that one event or moment in your life that filled you with so much joy that you simply couldn’t contain yourself? For me, it was finding out that my wife was pregnant with our first child. She actually told me on my birthday a few hours before we were going to have dinner with our closest friends.
About a year prior, we’d gotten pregnant, but lost the baby. We were scared at first to tell people because of what happened the last time, but this felt different. I truly felt the Lord telling me this was for real. Because of this, we didn’t allow our fear to steal our joy and excitement, so we decided to break the news to our friends that night.
All my life I’d wanted to be a father, so when the moment finally came, my joy bubbled over, so much so that we named our son Jude, which means praise! And not a day goes by where I don’t praise God with all my heart for the wonderful, kind, energetic, unique, creative, amazing child that is my Jude.
Today, we’re going to look at one of the most beautiful passages in the Bible, one of the most beautiful collection of words ever written. It’s called The Magnificat; it’s Mary’s song of praise to the Lord.
Imagine being Mary in this moment. A few days ago, an angel of the Lord comes to you and tells you that you will become pregnant by the Holy Spirit and carry the long-awaited Messiah who was promised to Abraham:
The One who would crush the head of the serpent once and for all
The Seed through whom all families of the earth would be blessed
The King who would sit on the throne of David forever
The Savior who would deliver all mankind
Her response to this shocking news? “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true” (Luke 1:38 NLT). Wow! So, then she packs up and goes to visit her cousin who was also pregnant. And as soon as she greets her, Elizabeth declares through the Spirit that Mary is blessed above all women because she had been chosen to be the mother of the Lord. And this is the moment where we see Mary unable to contain her joy and excitement any longer! She declares, “My heart is overflowing with praise of my Lord, my soul is full of joy in God my Savior.”
If you notice, there are some striking similarities between Mary’s song of praise and the Song of Hannah found in 1 Samuel 2. Regarding this, theologian Alexander MacLaren wrote, “Must the simple village maiden be a poetess because she is the mother of our Lord? What is more likely than that she should cast her emotions into forms so familiar to her, and especially that Hannah’s hymn should color hers? These old psalms provided the mold into which her glowing emotions almost instinctively would run, and the very absence of ‘originality’ in the song favors its genuineness.” Have you ever experienced a moment in your life and immediately a song, psalm, or Bible passage popped into your head that helped you express what you were feeling? That’s very likely what happened here with Mary! She recalled the Song of Hannah and made it personal to express the unfathomable joy, gratitude, and happiness she was feeling.
Friends, at Christmastime, I want to remind you of something: Mary’s Magnificat can be ours, too! It can be the words we sing to the Lord. Just like Mary declared, “The one who can do all things has done great things for me—oh, holy is his Name,” we, too, should be shouting this praise with overflowing, uncontainable joy. Because of Jesus, we can all sing loudly about the great things the Lord has done for us! Every single day, our lives can be a walking, talking, living, breathing Magnificat to our God.
Take some time today to express your Magnificat to Jesus. Speak it, sing it, or write it down. You can use a deeply significant worship song, Bible passage, or psalm and make it personal. Declare your joy and gratitude to our great God and Father today!