The Magnificat

Prayer: Gracious God, there is none one like You. Your mercy and grace know no bounds. Your goodness and love are perfect. You are also just, righteous and holy and hold all of the world in perfect balance. I am honored that You would come and join me as I talk with You and share my life with You. Please order my world and fill me with Your presence. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Read: Luke 1:46-56

Thoughts: When God inspires praise in us, it is perfection. It doesn’t take a long search to find passage after passage where the name of God is lifted up on the lips of His people. The authors of such verse include Miriam (the sister of Moses), King David, Hannah (the mother of Samuel), Zechariah (the father of John), and now in today’s reading, Mary, the mother of Jesus. These are just a few examples and if you search you will find many, many more.

This particular prayer of praise is recorded for three specific reasons, according to Martin Luther.
“Just as a book title indicates what is the contents of the book, so this word “magnifies” is used by Mary to indicate what her hymn of praise is to be about, namely, the great works and deeds of God, for the strengthening of our faith, for the comforting of all those of low degree, and for the terrifying of all the mighty ones of earth. We are to let the hymn serve this threefold purpose; for she sang it not for herself alone but for us all, to sing it after her.” (LW 21:306)

If Luther is correct we read these words to great advantage for they strengthen our faith, bring great comfort, and serve to put those who would lead us on notice that God is still God. We would do well to read these words often; perhaps more than just once a year at Christmas time!

Inside of these words is an important faith lesson for us. Here we find that Mary rejoices not only in the gifts that God gives, such as salvation, provision, and protection. No, she rejoices in God Himself. This is an important distinction. Would you rather hang out with someone who loves you for you, or with someone who loves you for what you can give to them? The answer is fairly obvious, right? Well, the same thing applies to God. Loving Him because He gives us everything we need is not a very pure form of love. It is in fact rather selfish. But loving Him just because He exists – that is love. We absolutely appreciate what He gives us and without His provision, we would surely die. But when it comes to relationship (and that is what faith is all about) we love and seek the Lord because of who He is to us; a loving Father. Mary’s prayer supports this understanding and could easily become a model for how we approach the Lord every day.

Prayer: “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name.”