This coming Sunday I will be preaching from one of the most significant meetings of the Christmas season that occurs in of Luke 1. It is the place where Mary finds out that her relative Elizabeth is in the sixth month of her pregnancy and she goes to be with Elizabeth. After Elizabeth extends a warm greeting to Mary, Mary breaks out into a beautiful song of praise to God that is found in verses 46- 55 of Luke 1. It is a passage that is called “Mary’s Magnificat”. I especially like the first two verses, which read, “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,” (v.46, 47 NIV). When Mary speaks of her soul, she is speaking of the point of contact between her physical being and her spiritual nature. The Greek word for soul here is “psyche,” which is the word from which we get our English word psychology. Psychology is the science of the mind. Mary is speaking about the seat of her feelings, desires, and affections when she says, “My soul glorifies the Lord.” The words of Elizabeth concerning the blessings that she is going to receive as the mother of the Messiah result in an inspirational moment that overwhelms Mary’s whole being and she is spontaneously swept up into the course of this beautiful song. When Mary magnifies the Lord, it means that she declares His greatness. Not that she is making God great, for He is truly great already, but rather she was declaring and showing forth the greatness of His Majesty and His Might. She delights in God as the highest object of her affections. Shouldn’t that also be our desire at Christmas time?
Mary then refers to God as “my Savior”. This is recognition of her need for a Savior. In this verse, Mary is speaking about her spirit rejoicing “in God my Savior”. While the soul is the principal core of our being, the spirit is the point of contact between God and man. It is the highest, deepest and most noble part of our humanity. When we have been born again through the Holy Spirit, we have a connection with God that no other religion or faith offers. Mary wanted God to have all of her praise. In this passage, Mary recognized that others could have been chosen to be the mother of the Messiah, but she is the one that God has chosen. She sees this child as a child who is going to be a blessing to all future generations of every nation. She recognizes that she is blessed to be the mother of the Messiah and wants all the praise and glory to go to the great God of heaven. I think Mary would be horrified if she knew there are millions of people who worship and pray to her in the name of religion. Truly she desired that God should have all the praise, glory and honor.
I believe there are three things that made Mary great in God’s eyes. The first of those things was a true spirit of humility. When Gabriel tells her that she is going to bear the Messiah, she simply says, “I am the Lord’s servant, may it be to me as you have said,” (Luke 1:38). Secondly, I believe Mary demonstrates the simplicity of character and that her only interest was in glorifying God in her life. She wasn’t concerned about being fashionable or glamorous, but she was concerned about being blessed. We tend to do things to be recognized or in be touch with our world; Mary was only concerned with what God thought. Finally, I think that the third characteristic that is so important in Mary’s life was that she trusted in the promises of God, this we call faith. As we seek to glorify God this Christmas season let us live lives of humility and simplicity of character and faith. Let us faithfully use this Christmas season as an opportunity to declare the splendor and majesty of our great Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. This was what was in Mary’s heart, and I pray this will would be in our hearts as well this Christmas season.
Pastor Rich Sivo