What would it take to get you singing and dancing from sheer joy and excitement? Has that ever happened to you?
That’s exactly what Mary and Elizabeth are doing in Luke 1:39-56. This passage is sometimes called Magnificat because that is the first word of Mary’s song in Latin.
Mary’s Song of Praise
Jesus has been conceived by this time, but it is still 30 more weeks until his birth in Bethlehem. Yet he has made Elizabeth’s baby leap for joy in her womb and has filled his own mother with excitement, hope and triumph. So she does the only thing she can do. She sings a song; a song about the dream that one day God would do all that He had promised to her ancestors. A dream that goes back to God’s promise to Abraham that all the nations will be blessed through him.
The world Elizabeth and Mary lived in was not one filled with hope and triumph. The violent and paranoid Herod the Great was king and his decrees were backed by the threat of the Roman army. Harsh taxes and regulations were impressed upon the population. Life in general was not good.
The focus of most Jews at this time was on scriptures that spoke of hope, revolution, rescue, fulfillment of God’s covenant, and the victory of God over evil. That is the fountain from which Mary’s song springs. Most of her song echoes Hannah’s song in 1 Samuel 2 when she celebrated the birth of her son, Samuel, and all that God would do through him.So Mary and Elizabeth rejoice together over what God is going to do through their two sons, John and Jesus. The victory of God is coming at last!
Even though it was humanity who chose to sever the covenant relationship we had with God in the Garden of Eden, God has taken all the initiative to save us and restore us to life in covenant relationship with Him! Our freedom comes through the work of no one but Him. He is the reason we celebrate at Christmas and in every other season as well.
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Grace and peace.