The Song of Mary
And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord
I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas
(play clip of the song)
One thing that is really cool about the Christmas season is the music. It’s fun to pull out the Christmas CD’s and the music really fills the season with a lot of joy. I’m pretty sure we all have our favorite Christmas song. I went onto itunes and typed in Christmas songs and found 1000’s of songs. Wow! One song I don’t hear too often but when I do I always smile and sing along: I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas. Well, here is a short clip of it.
I just love that song and the tune is so catchy. Out of the 1000’s of Christmas songs I picked that one. My wife thinks I like it just because it is so obnoxious; especially to everyone else.
Today, let’s look at what might be called the 1st song of Christmas, Mary’s Song.
Read Passage – Luke 1:46-56
46 And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord 47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, 49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me— holy is his name. 50 His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. 51 He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. 52 He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. 53 He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. 54 He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful 55 to Abraham and his descendants forever, just as he promised our ancestors.” 56 Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months and then returned home.
Mary the Highly Favored
Many of you might know this song as The Magnificat; which literally means “My soul magnifies.” This is a story of a young girl in the Bible who had a lot of reasons to be seriously concerned about what lies ahead of her. She is a member of the poorest class of her people having no political power or rights. She is young and female in a culture that treats women as little more than property. She’s an unwed mother, which is often an automatic death sentence in her community. Her fiancée is seriously considering calling the marriage off, which could mean she would never find a husband who would have her.
“The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored.” Luke 1:28
One thing that is welcomed in life is the assurance of others. People who will affirm us. When we get support and encouragement, it just seems easier to get through things.
When Crises Occur
I mentioned this briefly last week and let me repeat it again; you might not be going through a crisis right now but crises will come. We can be sure that life will not be smooth sailing all the time. Going back the nickels, those are reminders of your support for me when I face rough days/times. But here is what is most common in humans: We let the circumstances dictate our joy. That’s where we get off track. It should be:
Circumstances Shouldn’t Dictate Our Joy: God Should
We learn a huge lesson from Mary in that way. In spite of all her problems and concerns…she breaks out in song. I’ve learned that song can be an important part of our dealing with disappointment and struggle and can be a great outlet of praise in our times of joy.
Ex. C. Everett Coop – Going along with a nice life of doctoring and helping others and then thrust into the spotlight. His biggest supporters, Christians; his biggest opponets; the gay and lesbian community. During his term as Surgeon General, those same Christians became his biggest opponents and the Gay and Lesbian community his biggest advocate. In a few short years in many people’s eyes he went from hero to goat. Life can change in an instant and if our joy is dictated by our circumstances, we will never be happy.
The question might be; How can we move toward walking closer to God and not get caught up in the cycle of letting our circumstances dictate our joy?
Mary’s Song Of Praise
So let’s look at the song of Mary in Luke 1 and learn from her how song can play an important part in drawing us closer to God.
1. Praise With Humility
First, Mary teaches us that praise includes humility. It’s the recognition that God is God and that we are his people.
“…for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me— holy is his name.” vss. 47-48
God is working out His plan for this world, and he has a plan for you and I too. He has chosen a special part for you to play in accomplishing His plan. That being said, we learn humility by submitting our will and circumstances to God’s plan. This reminds me of a passage in 2 Chron.:
“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14
Notice the verse says “humble themselves.” In Mary’s song she calls herself a “humble servant.”
2. Praise Recognizes God’s Power
Second, in our praise, we recognize God’s power. We sing of God’s power. We embrace God’s power. We claim God’s power. Verses 51-52:
“He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble.” vss. 51-52
Part of the reason we allow our circumstances to dictate our joy is because our focus becomes small. It becomes all about us and we loose sight of the bigger picture. Notice these verses talk the power God has over the proud and those in political power. We focus on why we don’t have (fill in the blank, the 4G phone, the new ipad, the better car, etc.) and our focus is small. When we look at what we do have and the blessings God has poured out on us, many of our petty issues don’t really have much credence.
Psalm 42 is thought to be written by David in a time where Saul is pursuing David to kill him and he has been cut off from not only his friends and position in Israel’s army, but also cut off from serving and worshipping in the Temple. So in Psalm 42:5 he writes:
“Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” Psalm 42:5
David realizes that God is bigger and more powerful than any of our circumstances or problems. In fact, the main thing to pull from this verse is that word ‘hope.” There is always hope when we recognize God’s power.
In fact, it maybe that this is a good time for us to remember God’s provision in giving us His Son and now relax and let God lead our life.
3. Praise Expresses God’s Faithfulness
Because of God’s power, we can begin to have hope and trust in God’s faithfulness. Mary says in verses 54-55:
“He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, just as he promised our ancestors.” vss. 54-55
Mary in these verse shows us her knowledge of Israel’s history and her understanding of what God has done for her and for her people. God is powerful enough to do it and he has proven through the years that He is faithful in all things. God has been silent for 400 years at this point in Israel’s history. There have been no prophets, no signs, no anything yet Mary declares His faithfulness. Trusting in God’s faithfulness is something we learn about through Mary’s Song and we claim as well. Remember god’s words in Deut. 31:
“Be strong and courageous…for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deut. 31:6
His presence is always there and you can depend and rely upon that.
4. Praise Rises Out Of The Heart
In order to tie this all together let’s look back at the beginning of her song to see where this all comes from and it’s her heart. Verses 46-47:
“And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior…” vs. 46-47
I think for us that we struggle with the outward and that’s why circumstance may dictate our joy. Mary’s Song comes from her heart and soul, the core of who she is. I think we can all relate to that on some level. We struggle with the outward. Here is the key: let your praise rise out of your heart and soul.
“My heart, O God, is steadfast; I will sing and make music with all my soul.” Psalm 108:1
Praise is good. Praise is something we were meant to do and created to do.
Here is another thought: You don’t need to write your own songs, many times we can let someone else sing for us.
Ex. My favorite group right now (besides the praise team J); Jesus Culture. I love them in tense times and I love them in joy.
The Song In Our Heart
1st Service –