By Pr. Colin Griffiths
I’ve become aware that when I read the Christmas story, I’m inclined to skip over Luke 1 and start with the familiar words, “And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.” The problem with that is I miss out on the overture that sets the scene for the life-changing ministry of Jesus that Luke’s gospel reveals.
So this year I’ve been regularly praying Mary’s song
‘My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour,
for he has looked with favour on the lowliness of his servant.
Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for the Mighty One has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
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 powerful from their thrones,
and lifted up the lowly;
he has filled the hungry with good things,
and sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
according to the promise he made to our ancestors,
to Abraham and his descendants forever.’
And doing this has brought up a whole lot of questions that might resonate with you:
How is God calling us to sing new lyrics to Mary’s song?
How is the Spirit moving within us so that we may magnify God from the depths of who we are in the new year?”
What would it look like if the way we moved through the world and interacted with people was focused on “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.”
Mary’s song reminds us of the songs Miriam and Hannah sang when, generations earlier, they triumphed over difficult situations. Check out Exodus 15 and 1 Samuel 2.
The thing is – Hannah and Miriam sing after the impossible has happened. They sing their songs in thanksgiving and gratefulness, as testimonies to their own experiences of strange hope becoming remarkable reality.
Mary’s song, as recorded by Luke, comes in the midst of uncertainty. As she visits Elizabeth, Mary’s song is a hopeful song of anticipation, that her situation will turn out as well as Miriam and Hannah’s did.
So the prayer on my lips is when I find myself in times of trouble is “may my life song be one of hopeful anticipation. Let it be, Lord, Let it be.