“Oh, how my soul praises the Lord.
How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!
For he took notice of his lowly servant girl,
and from now on all generations will call me blessed.
For the Mighty One is holy,
and he has done great things for me.
He shows mercy from generation to generation
to all who fear him.
His mighty arm has done tremendous things!
He has scattered the proud and haughty ones.
He has brought down princes from their thrones
and exalted the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things
and sent the rich away with empty hands.
He has helped his servant Israel
and remembered to be merciful.
For he made this promise to our ancestors,
to Abraham and his children forever.”
(Luke 2: 46-55, NLT)
I love how Mary reacts to her inclusion in God's story.
This random, insignificant, mostly uneducated young girl responds to God's message that she would be put in the incredibly awkward position of a pre-marital pregnancy with the faith-filled words “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” And then she later is credited with this amazing psalm.
the Bigger Story
What stands out to me as I read it is how she is able to see her pregnancy as part of the bigger story of God and his people. She recognises that what is going on with her is the fulfilment of God’s promise to Abraham and his merciful support of Israel! I found myself incredibly convicted by this - do I have that kind of perspective about what I do?
Are we able to see the student work we do as part of God’s bigger story?
At this point in the story, Mary hasn't yet given birth. She’s just a young, pregnant, not yet married girl with (most likely) an unwanted and unwarranted reputation. Although she’s carrying the Messiah she has no way of proving that and little more than a bump to show for it.
I currently don't feel I’ve got much to show for my student ministry. If I'm honest, its been a frustrating term! There's little I can point people towards as a success story and I still feel like I have yet to birth any actual fruit this academic year. But unlike Mary, I'm failing to rejoice over the little-more-than-a-little-bump I do have.
Moreover, the context of the song is a conversation Mary is having with her relative Elizabeth. The song itself isn't just expressing her vision of what God is up to in her life, it's celebrating what God is doing in the life of others. This again, is quite a challenge to me.
What are we doing to celebrate what God is doing across the rest of our city/nation rather than only considering our own ministry?
What else about Mary’s vision encourages / inspires / challenges you?
For more Nativity-prompted reflections check out the posts below:
Picture credit: Hannah Morris