Seeing the Story

39 In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah, 40 and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. 41 And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, 42 and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 43 And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. 45 And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.”

46 And Mary said,

“My soul magnifies the Lord,
47     and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.
    For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
49 for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
    and holy is his name.
50 And his mercy is for those who fear him
    from generation to generation.
51 He has shown strength with his arm;
    he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;
52 he has brought down the mighty from their thrones
    and exalted those of humble estate;
53 he has filled the hungry with good things,
    and the rich he has sent away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
    in remembrance of his mercy,
55 as he spoke to our fathers,
    to Abraham and to his offspring forever.”

56 And Mary remained with her about three months and returned to her home.

(Luke 1:39-56, ESV)

Mary’s praise is a wonder.

It’s something that shows a depth of thought and reflection, an understanding you wouldn’t expect from a teen. It’s possible she fully composed it later – the story doesn’t say she made it up spontaneously.

What I love is how she takes her own blessing and her own situation and realizes it’s just a part of God’s larger work. He’s feeding the hungry, working mighty justice for the weak, and defeating the powerful. Heady stuff for a young mom. You can’t imagine she was very proud or happy about the reality that her son had to sleep in a barnyard feed bin. What mom would be? Somehow she sees past all that.

She sees with Holy Spirit eyes. That same Spirit had hovered over her in tenderness already, and he’s moving her deeply into knowing God’s works and wonders. God has looked on her with love, chosen her for the birth of His Son, and made her life the theater and stage where He will reveal Himself. She’s a part of the great and grand story of the redemption of all things in heaven and earth, of God’s sovereign plan. God’s choices are not to exalt the powerful or honor the successful – no. If you listen carefully to her song, you can hear how stunned she is by it all. Remember, the greatest figure of her whole culture is Abraham. Abraham, the father of the Jews, the one who talked to God like a friend, the father of promise. And now God is talking to her and working in her just the same as him. She is floored. How can her problems and her life matter to an Almighty God? How can she be a part of this incredible work? For Mary, Advent is the arrival of the power and plans of God into her daily nap schedules and needs for baby blankets. He has no favorites. He loves us with all that He is, with all His eternal majesty and glory, regardless of our class or station in life. Moms, kings, and teens all matter to Him equally. She leads us to Him and invites us into her worship, hope, and joy! Praise Him!