Read Luke 1:46-55
ALSO IN SCRIPTURE
“As for me, I would seek God, and to God I would commit my cause.” (Job 5:8)
So, it is the day after Christmas Day and as the angels in the heavens said to the shepherds two millenia ago, “I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord.” But before we move out of the Christmas season and into the New Year, I would like to take a moment to reflect on a psalm spoken by Mary when she first learned she was pregnant with Jesus.
Now, can you imagine the scene of this? An angel appears to this 14 year old girl and tells her that God is going to make her pregnant. Come again!?!? “Mary said to the angel, ‘How can this be, since I am a virgin'” (Luke 1:34)? Can you picture the horror of the idea of this, in a time when women were considered property; in a time when women were stoned for “getting pregnant” outside of marriage? Mary must have been truly frightened, yet she answered, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word” (Luke 1:38).
Following this, she praises the Lord with an original Psalm that comes from her heart. She starts it off with the following statement, “My soul magnifies the Lord” (Luke 1:46). Now if you are reading that statement carefully, it should cause you to pause and ponder. How can the soul of Mary, a mere peasant girl, magnify the soul of El Shaddai, or rather, God Almighty? How can the soul of a lowly human being ever magnify God…shouldn’t it be the other way around. Shouldn’t it be that God magnifies Mary’s soul?
Yet, in Mary’s statement we see an inherent truth that perhaps sets her apart from most people. Whereas, when we think of God, we are looking for something big, Mary saw something small. Where we are looking for a grandiose Zeus in the sky sitting on a golden throne, Mary saw a precious, vulnerable, and helpless baby. To take it one step further, not only did Mary see God in her child, but she saw God in herself. And it was in her qualities of humility, of meekness, of lowliness, of smallness, and of faithfulness that she saw God magnified.
We are so busy looking for something big, something out of this world, and something magical that we often miss the presence of God entirely. In the movie, Enter the Dragon, Bruce Lee says, “Like a finger pointing to the moon…don’t concentrate on the finger or you will miss all of that heavenly glory.” Often times, we focus so hard on concentrating on miracles…looking here and there for them…that we miss the miracle itself.
Mary did not miss the miracle. She knew the miracle was not just around her, but within her. That she was born in a time when many babies died…Miracle. That she was not stoned for being found with child outside of marriage…Miracle. That Joseph accepted a dream as reality and accepted Jesus as his son…Miracle. That anyone would see God within them…including Mary…Miracle.
Rather than looking for Kings and kingly gifts, rather than looking for dazzling parlor tricks and illusions, let us recognize the true Miracle of Christmas…that God is not only with us, but revealed and magnified within us. If your soul rejoices in God the way Mary’s did, how differently will you begin to live your life. Make this your New Year’s resolution: See God within you and let your soul be a magnifying glass…not only in word but in deed. Let your soul say, as Mary’s did, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word” (Luke 1:38).
THOUGHT OF THE DAY
“People see God every day, they just don’t recognize him.” – Pearl Bailey
Lord, help me to see you within me, and help let my soul magnify you, O Lord God. I am your servant. Amen.