2023 Advent Devotional - Luke 1:46-59 (Day 20)


Luke 1:46-59 “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. 57 Now the time came for Elizabeth to give birth, and she bore a son. 58 And her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown great mercy to her, and they rejoiced with her. 59 And on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child. And they would have called him Zechariah after his father”

In this section of scripture we see a beautiful statement, or song of praise and thanksgiving by Mary…of beautiful worship of the Lord.  This beautiful song of praise is commonly called the Magnificat that begins with “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,”.  She is clearly overjoyed in her praise of the Lord, and fully recognizes God’s blessing on her…having found favor with God and being chosen to be the mother of God’s only son!  

This is a wonderful example of feeling God’s blessing, despite the personal challenges she had to know she would be going through, when the news of this became public.  Yet she gives worship and praise to the Lord for being chosen to be the mother of the Messiah.  She is overly blessed that someone like her, from a lowly position would be chosen by the Lord.  She is clearly aware of the cultural history of God’s faithfulness to His people; praising and glorifying that the Lord is mighty and has done great things for Israel through His mercy.

There are significant similarities with Mary’s “Magnificat” and Hannah’s Prayer of Praise in 1 Samuel 2:1-10.  After having a son, named Samuel, Hannah brought him to Eli the priest, as a gift to the Lord.  Both of these women recognized the faithfulness of the Lord and praised him for his care and mercy for the lowly.  Both of these segments of scripture make me consider my need to recognize the blessings of God in my own life…and all that He has done for me…and for all of us.  

Mary recognizes that the Lord’s plans are quite different from the plans of the powerful people in her culture; which is clearly true in our culture today.   Mary realizes that His mercy is for those who “fear” (respect and honor) Him from generation to generation.  She speaks of the Lord’s ways bringing exaltation to those of humble estate, and bringing down the proud and the powerful…which is certainly the opposite of the thinking of our current culture.  

Her song worships and glorifies the Savior who wants all to be saved, and loves everyone and all creation.  He wants to change our focus from what the culture of our time is telling us is important…to understanding that He loves us and wants us to humble ourselves and recognize the many blessings He provides.  As we move closer to December 25th this year, may we also joyfully remember the promise of our salvation…and may we join in celebrating, with thanksgiving in our hearts, the precious gift of Jesus.

Lord, forgive us when we fail to remember your wonderful blessings to us, and neglect to come to you in thankful worship for who You are, and all you have done for us.  May our soul magnify the Lord, and our spirit rejoice in God, our Savior.  Amen. - By Tom Hoien

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