This is Mary’s song of praise to the Lord after she was visited by the angel Gabriel who revealed the amazing news to her that she would give birth to Jesus, the Son of God (Luke 1: 30-35). Mary immediately submitted herself to God’s will (v38) and rushed to visit her relative Elizabeth, who was pregnant with a baby who would grow up to be John the Baptist. Elizabeth and her baby were filled by the Holy Spirit when they heard Mary’s greeting to them. Elizabeth spoke words of faith and blessing into Mary’s life and she believed that Mary was about to bear a special child. She recognised that Mary had faith that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her that were told by the angel Gabriel (v41-45).
Mary then sings a song to glorify God. This song is also known as the Magnificat, meaning Mary’s hymn of praise to God. Mary believes God’s word and her immediate impulse is to praise God. This is in contrast to Zechariah’s response to the angel Gabriel earlier in this chapter (v18) after he is told that his wife Elizabeth would bear him a son who would bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God (v13-16), and who would make ready a people prepared for the Lord (v17). Zechariah speaks in doubt and disbelief to the angel and because of this, he is struck silent and unable to speak until the day of the baby’s birth (18-20). I suspect that Zechariah was struck silent to prevent him from speaking any more words of disbelief. In contrast, Mary chooses to speak words of faith and praise. She rejoices in “God my Saviour”, she recognises God’s power and mercy, she knows that God will look after the humble and poor. Mary understands that this miracle that is about to happen, is part of God’s merciful plan for all the generations.
We all know how this story ends. John the Baptist was born and he preached to the people in order to prepare them that Jesus was coming (Luke 3:1-18). Mary gave birth to Jesus, the Son of God, who grew up to preach throughout the land of Israel and He was crucified for our sins. He was raised up from death on the third day and was taken up to heaven to join His heavenly Father (Luke 24: 50-53). In this way, He took away the burden of our sins and exchanged them for salvation! This is God’s mercy for all the generations.
This Christmas, we can choose to believe God’s promises spoken to us through His Word in the Bible. We can choose to recognise who Jesus is and rejoice in God’s power and mercy. We can choose to believe the miracle of His birth. We can choose to speak words of faith and thanksgiving into our lives and into the lives of the people around us. Mary is an example to us all of how someone who was supposedly powerless and insignificant, became known as “blessed by all generations” (v48) because she was fully submitted to God’s purpose.
Thank you, God for sending us your Son, Jesus Christ, to die for us to save us from death and sin. Thank you for choosing to be merciful to us. Help us to trust you and to believe the promises that you have given us. Help us to choose to glorify you and to speak words of faith and blessing in all our lives. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.