I can’t imagine what Mary was thinking when an angel descended upon her and said she was going to be a pregnant virgin giving birth to the son of God. I try to put myself in her place, a young girl who is engaged, ready to begin her new life with her husband and then instead she’s told she is going to have the child of God. There was no “oh but what will my husband and everyone else think?” She just accepted it and said that whatever the Lord wanted she would do. She had so much love and veneration for God that in such a scary situation she was humbled. Instead of asking a million questions (like I would have) she referred to herself as a servant of the Lord. This is a young lady who admires God above all else.
Admiration was our sermon’s focus this morning and it came at the perfect time of the year. During Christmas, you would expect the focus to be on Jesus’ birth so I was surprised when instead we discussed The Magnificat. The Magnificat or Mary’s Song of Praise is located in The Gospel According to Luke 1: 46-55.
The Magnificat (Latin for [my soul] magnifies [the lord]) is what Mary expressed after Elizabeth (her relative who was also pregnant) said she was blessed among women. Elizabeth was barren and the angel Gabriel visited her husband to let him know that they were going to have a son who would follow the Lord. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s voice, her son leapt in her womb and she was filled with the Holy Spirit. As Gabriel had said previously, nothing is impossible for God.
After she was done praising her, Mary poured out her love and admiration for Him. The first part of her song Luke 1:46-49 was focused on her feelings and what she was given by the Lord. She didn’t feel entitled, in fact she was the opposite of entitled, she was humbled by the Lord. In the second portion of the song, she was stating what the He was doing for everyone in the world. She described what he was doing and essentially said, “Look at what God is really like.”
She magnified the good he has done and will do:
- The mercy he shows to those who fear him
- Scattering the proud
- Exalting those of a humble estate
- Sending away the rich empty
- Helping his servant Israel
The definition of admiration is a deep love and respect; Mary’s words ring true of complete admiration of the Lord. This morning the Pastor said that we have all been through the dark, not wanting to go on and that it is the enemy lying to us. We know this because deep in our heart we feel it well up with all of the great things He has done for us.
God is not partial to the rich, powerful and proud. As Mary’s Song of Praise reminds us, His grace is sufficient. It isn’t about how much we have, what we earn, what we wear or how much we do. The grace of Christ paid our debt and it is all we need. We need to look towards God’s strength and have the same amount of faith Mary had when an angel told her that her whole life was going to change.
The main pieces I took away from today’s sermon were:
- We must decrease, He must increase
- Allow ourselves to be filled/overflowing with the Holy Spirit
- Are we magnifying the Lord?
- Nothing is impossible for the Lord
- Mary’s admiration and faith are the perfect examples of someone who is Christlike
- His grace is sufficient
I’m thankful to be going into the end of the holiday season with such a strong reminder about what this season is truly about.