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"And Mary said, '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.
And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;
he has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate;
he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy,
as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his offspring forever'" (Luke 1:46-55).
In Latin, the first line to Mary's song is Magnificat anima mea Dominum - "My soul magnifies the Lord." Throughout Mary's song of rejoicing, she cites many Old Testament references, which is fitting for anyone overcome by the Spirit. In particular, Mary's exaltation is closely related to the song of Hannah found in 1 Samuel 2:1-10.

The first lines of Hannah's song are almost identical to the ones Mary sings: "My heart exults in the LORD; my horn is exalted in the Lord. My mouth derides my enemies because I rejoice in your salvation." Not only is there similar language in 1 Samuel, but Mary recites, fittingly, many lines from the Psalms, the Old Testament hymnal, in her elation (i.e., Psalm 34:2, 35:9, 103:17, 107:9, 138:6). Mary, undoubtedly, knew her Torah.

Indeed, we do not know much about Mary. We know she was a descendant of King David, descended from the promised son, Isaac, of Abraham. We also know that she was to be married to Joseph and that both Mary and Joseph were humble in spirit and desired to obey and honor God. This much is evident in their responses to the angels: "I am the servant of the Lord" (Luke 1:38); "When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him" (Matthew 1:24). Other than these few details, we do not have many firsthand accounts of the earthly parents of Jesus.

Nevertheless, let us turn to Mary's song again to see both what it is that she says and what is revealed about the incarnate Messiah growing inside of her through her song.

First, Mary exalts God, not herself.

Mary says, "My soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God." She exclaims, "He who is mighty has done great things for me!" Mary is very much aware that all she has experienced - the visit of the angels, the greeting received from her cousin Elizabeth, the mercy she received from Joseph, the baby in her womb - is a result of God's sovereign action; she has earned none of it. Look at what Mary says: "he has shown strength... he has brought down the mighty... he has helped his servant Israel...." Over and over again Mary sings of what God has done. Indeed, Mary finds great hope and strength in the Lord, not in herself.

None of us will ever experience what Mary experienced, as Jesus was only born once. But still to this day he showers down mercies upon his undeserving and helpless creatures. Do you see his mercy and praise him for it? Or do you spurn the Lord's goodness and make great boasts of your might, not knowing that it is God who rules over you all the while? Are you ungrateful for God's many gifts? We should indeed extol the Lord and forget not his mercies.

Second, Mary does not claim that her salvation lies in anything other than the Messiah.

Mary acknowledges her need of the baby she carries. She cries out, "My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!" Mary gladly calls the baby inside of her "my Savior," the Savior that has come to redeem her corrupted flesh. Mary rejoices in the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the whole world! Indeed, Mary needed the Savior's blood as much as you or I. Apart from his salvation, Mary, too, would have perished on the day of judgement. Jesus himself says of all men everywhere, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God" (John 3:5). There is salvation found in no one else, only Jesus!

Mary trusted in Christ as her Savior, as the Lord had revealed him to her. Christ is revealed to you today, this Christmas season, for God has come to dwell with man; God has become flesh in order to save your cursed flesh from sin and death. Praise be to God! Do you trust in him? Do you see your need for him?

Just like Hannah, Mary rejoiced greatly in God her Savior, the only One in whom salvation is found. Hannah found mercy in God when she conceived a son; Mary, too, found mercy in God when she conceived, only the mercy she received was far greater than that of Hannah, for she carried the only Son of God, and he would save the world from their sins by his life, death, and resurrection. Though many sons of Adam had died before, no son of God had ever died. Christ, the only incarnate Son of God, is the only acceptable atonement for man's sins. What a precious gift Mary carried! Oh, to know the Savior as intimately as she did!

"Mary, did you know that your baby boy would one day walk on water?
Mary, did you know that your baby boy would save our sons and daughters?
Did you know that your baby boy has come to make you new?
This child that you delivered will soon deliver you" (
Mary, Did You Know? Mark Lowry, 1984).