category: Advent

Advent Reflection: Day 22

Sunday,  December 19

Micah 5:2–5a; Luke 1:46b–55; Hebrews 10:5–10

The Magnificat is Mary’s song of praise.  She has just been informed by Gabriel that she will give birth to Jesus. She has been sent to stay with her cousin, Elizabeth, who is now pregnant with John the Baptist.  Elizabeth tells her that as Mary greeted her, John lept inside her and she knew Mary carried the Messiah. 
This song was Mary’s response.

I’ve always loved that story and the Magnificat itself. Actually, that’s not quite true. I’ve always loved pieces of it. “My soul magnifies the Lord … my spirit rejoices in God my savior… the Mighty One has done great things for me.” Those words are full of gratitude and, when I’m at my best, I can relate to and repeat them.

But, honestly, the rest of the song has always seemed out of place. Mary goes on to talk about God elevating the poor and hungry. Luke’s gospel, so far, has been pretty focused on Mary’s situation. If Mary is praising God for his work in her life, it seems off topic to start talking about what he’s doing for the hungry, doesn’t it? 

I always thought so. That is, until I realized the pieces of the Magnificat I related to were the ones that put “me” at the center. As soon as the song shifts, and asks me to consider God’s work in the broader world, I can no longer relate.

Yes, the first half of Mary’s song is personally relatable.  But gratitude for the blessings God has poured into our individual lives is only the beginning of what we can learn here. Once Mary realized she indeed carried the long-awaited savior, it suddenly dawned on her that God had kept his promises, not just to her, but to everyone. 

Let us pray that we see past our circumstances to the divine redemptive work still unfolding in the world today.

Cal Robertson

Katie Ervin
Acquisitions Librarian, Dover Memorial Library

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