Magnify the Lord

“My soul glorifies the Lord
    and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has been mindful
    of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
    for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
    holy is his name.
His mercy extends to those who fear him,
    from generation to generation.
He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
    he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
He has brought down rulers from their thrones
    but has lifted up the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things
    but has sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
    remembering to be merciful
to Abraham and his descendants forever,
    just as he promised our ancestors.” (Luke 1:46b–55 NIV)

Mary’s song in Luke 1, also known as the Magnificat, is a prayer of rejoicing in the faithfulness of a mighty God. Mary has just announced her pregnancy to her cousin Elizabeth, but it’s not a typical announcement. She doesn’t have a grand plan when she sets out for Elizabeth’s house; she simply shows up.

When my husband and I told our three children we were having a fourth child, we gave them “Thing 1,” “Thing 2,” and “Thing 3” T-shirts and then pulled out a “Thing 4” onesie. Our oldest jumped up and down and cried out, “I knew it! I knew it!” Elizabeth also knew Mary was with child before Mary even said a word. Both these women trusted in the Lord, as evidenced by their words. In verse 45 of Luke 1, Elizabeth says, “Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”

Elizabeth immediately enters into Mary’s joy, but while they are both in awe of this miraculous pregnancy, their thoughts and their praise are directed toward the Mighty One. Mary’s praise is focused on what the Lord has done and what he will do. For each of my pregnancies, I was keen to share my joy with everyone, and we see that in Mary, too, as she goes to Elizabeth. She shares her joy, but even more, her focus is on glorifying the Lord. She recounts the Lord’s faithfulness to his people Israel, and she shares her astonishment in the realization that her God and Savior has chosen her to bear his Son.

In verse 50, Mary says, “His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation.” Are we those people today, ones who stand in awe of God and all he has done? Are we quick to praise God for what he has done, spurring one another on to rejoice in what he has accomplished? When we gather together with other believers this Christmas season, may we rejoice in our God and Savior, the Mighty One! When you experience a blessing in your life this season, follow Mary’s example by praising the Lord. May our souls magnify the Lord!

Becky Daye serves alongside her husband, Dave, the senior pastor at Orchard Community Church in Rochester, New York, in ministry and in raising their four children for God’s glory.