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And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior… - Luke 1:78-79
And thus begins the most famous response to Christmas in the gospel of Luke. When Mary finally comes to grips with the weight and certainty of the angel Gabriel’s message, she rejoices. While this was an appropriate response to being told she would be pregnant as the mother of Jesus, God in human form, it was not the only possible response.
The timing and the order of this pregnancy was not the way that Mary would have preferred it. Starting a family is a difficult decision for most people. They worry about whether their income can support the new expense. They worry about the ways the demands of the new baby will affect their career, their social life, and their relationships. Mary was betrothed but not yet fully married to Joseph. Their finances and career and social life and relationship with each other were not yet where they needed to be.
Surely, Mary had an equal opportunity to lament… to worry… to be afraid…. She had to look past all of these options to recognize the threads of promise, the fingerprints of God, and the whispers of hope. Mary chose to magnify her hope in God rather than her fear. She grabbed hold of God’s hand and chose to magnify the Lord.
This choice is the gift of Christmas. Not only has Jesus broken into Mary’s life, but he has been offered to each one of us as a friend, a savior, and a Lord. If truth be told, we don’t always feel ready for the ways this will turn our lives upside down. The worry, fear, and lament of this is often enough to drive good people from committing to know Jesus. But we are also given the opportunity to walk the way of Mary. We can begin to recognize the evidence of hope that God gives to us, grab hold of it, and magnify it as we join Mary in singing, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my savior!”
Jesus, this Christmas, we thank you for the testimony of Mary. We thank you for her boldness from a precarious place to seek deeply to see you, to trust you, and to live from you. Grant us the courage to boldly grab hold of the grace, the love, and the friendship of Jesus. Help us to choose to doubt our doubts and believe. Let us magnify the Lord this Christmas! In Jesus name, amen.