Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord,
47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.
For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
49 for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his name. Luke 1:46-49 (ESV)
This Christmas I have been really fascinated with the above verses from Luke. These are the opening lines from Mary’s Magnificant and some of the most important Scripture for us today. I recently delivered a message on them, and I still find myself drawn to the words… “my soul magnifies the Lord.” When Mary sings this she is in the midst of an incredible life-change: from a teenage girl anticipating the quiet life of a wife and mother, to the most important parent of all time. She was chosen by God to be the mom to His Son. While this had to be a terrifying prospect, it is one she embraces headlong and one which causes her to sing the song that would define her.
But then there is a problem with the word magnify… how do you magnify the Lord? How do make greater that which is already infinite, eternal, and matchless? Well unfortunately, though God is all those things and more – we have a tendency to diminish His roll in our lives, because after all, we think, they are OUR lives. So, in the Greek here – the word has the connotation of making something conspicuous… And that we are good at… we are good at making ourselves conspicuous.
Don’t believe me. Google image the term “Christmas sweaters” or “Christmas lights” and what you will find is a study in conspicuous displays. Look at fans of any sport, and you’ll find people painting faces, wearing crazy wigs, shouting profanities – basically being conspicuous.
Mary’s song reveals something about what she desires in her life: to be conspicuous for the Lord. She became conspicuous for the Lord by giving up her body, her plans, her desires for God’s purposes, and Mary’s example poses a question for us – how will we be conspicuous for the Lord? In our words and actions there are ways in which we can be more known for God’s purposes than our own, more known for his mercy and love and faithfulness than our reputation, power, status or something else.
Christmas is a time for conspicuous – let’s make it about the right thing.